Reverse Mortgage Complaints to CFPB Slow During Pandemic

The amount of consumer complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) related to the reverse mortgage product category have slowed since the beginning of the national emergency stemming from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, RMD has learned. When averaged out to the amount of complaints received per month, the figure is lower than the typical monthly average seen over the past three years.

According to the recently-updated CFPB Consumer Complaint Database, a total of 102 consumer complaints about reverse mortgages have been submitted to the CFPB since March, the month that President Donald Trump declared a national emergency due to the pandemic. In the full three year period between late August of 2017 and late August 2020, a total of 999 reverse mortgage complaints have been recorded by the agency.

Between August 2017 and February 2020, the amount of reverse mortgage complaints received by the CFPB averages out to roughly 30 complaints per month. Since the onset of the pandemic in March, that monthly average over the majority of the last 6 months has been lowered to 18.2 per month. The three month average over the period between May 24 and August 24, 2020 is even lower at 15.3 per month.

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20 of the complaints recorded since March have emerged from the state of California, followed by Florida (18), Texas and New Jersey (tied at 7), New York (5) and Oregon (4).

The federal government has instituted a number of actions that have eased some of the regulatory requirements related to reverse mortgages including allowing both exterior-only and desktop-only appraisals, instructing servicers to delay reverse mortgage due-and-payable requests during the national emergency, delaying foreclosures and evictions through at least the end of August and allowing the electronic submission of HECM case binders.

Reverse mortgage loan originators from across the United States have reported that borrower interest in the product category has increased during the pandemic period, including for proprietary offerings.

After making an initial promise to upgrade the ability for consumers and other stakeholders to engage with the CFPB complaint database in new ways during the summer of 2019, the Bureau implemented its updates to the database in July of 2020, which includes new visualization options.

“These powerful new capabilities allow users to gain deeper insight into changes in the location, type, and volume of complaints over time, which provides valuable context into consumers’ experiences in the financial marketplace,” said CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger in a press release announcing the upgrades. “I’m excited to make these additional tools available to the public as I promised last year.”

Visit the CFPB Consumer Complaint Database.

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