CFPB Goes Live With Reverse Mortgage Complaint Collection

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has opened its consumer complaint database to the public. The database includes complaints on financial products including mortgages, with the ability to filter complaints by loan type, including reverse mortgages. 

Overall, the database includes 90,000 searchable complaints and indicates roughly 5% of mortgage complaints were regarding reverse mortgages. 

“By sharing these complaints with the public, we are creating greater transparency in consumer financial products and services,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray at a field hearing in Des Moines, Iowa, where he announced the expansion of the CFPB Consumer Complaint Database. “The database is good for consumers and it is also good for honest businesses. We believe the marketplace of ideas can do great things with this data.”

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Reverse mortgages comprised 272 of more than 5,000 mortgage complaints overall. The database allows complaints to be searched by company, date, complaint type, zip code, company response, whether the response was timely and also includes additional information. 

Complaints are included in the database only after the company responds to the complaint or after they have had the complaint for 15 days, the CFPB says, whichever comes sooner. The complaint allegations are not verified, however, a “commercial relationship” between the consumer and company is verified before the complaint can be listed. 

The process of making complaints public without verifying them raised scrutiny and concern among industry advocates when it was first announced in 2012. 

“While our industry stands ready to work with the CFPB to resolve customer concerns, the Bureau’s plan to release unverified data is disappointing and could mislead consumers,” said Kenneth Clayton, ABA’s executive vice president of legislative affairs and chief counsel, at the time. 

The CFPB has said it will share the complaints with state regulators to inform enforcement decisions. 

The database also includes complaints on bank products, student loans and credit cards. 

View the complaint database.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  • I noticed a large percentage of the complaints that mention reverse mortgage are either associated with servicing or in the section for foreclosure and loan modification. Without being able to dig deeper into the background of these, its hard to determine what really took place to get them into the complaint realm to begin with. Would it be a reaction to someone being foreclosed upon because their taxes were unpaid or could it be a reaction to a child/spouse not being able to “keep” the home after the original borrower(s) had passed. From the servicing end would it be that it was too difficult to secure access to a credit line (by a child FOR the borrower, hint, hint?) Those are all something I would be interested in knowing since almost every one of the complaints shows resolved as “closed with explanation” and the borrower in most cases did not dispute.

    I am almost always in the camp of “much ado about nothing” when it comes to issues like this and being in the biz almost 10 years now it smells like opportunists getting their hands into the mix before they know what the real rules were.

    On another note, now that Nationstar and Ocwen are owners of some servicing rights to some reverse holdings I wonder if they anticipated the exposure they are now getting with this database.

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