Debt collection, credit reporting and mortgages topped the list of complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year, while complaints about prepaid cards and consumers loans soared, the agency said Friday.
Consumer complaints rose 8% to 271,600 in 2015 from a year earlier, the bureau said in its annual complaint report. Debt collection received the majority of complaints with 31%, followed by credit reporting with 20% and mortgages with 19%.
Complaints about prepaid cards skyrocketed, rising 275% from a year earlier to 3,000 in 2015. Consumers had the most problems opening, closing and managing prepaid card accounts. The agency added complaints about prepaid cards in January 2015.
Consumer loans also showed a big jump in complaints, up 41% last year to 13,500, compared with a year earlier. Nearly half of the complaints were focused on auto loans, followed by installment loans. Many of the complaints involved "bait and switch" tactics in which a lender offered favorable terms to attract a borrower, then changed the terms before a contract was signed, the agency said.
While debt collection complaints dipped 3.5% to 85,200 complaints last year, credit reporting complaints rose 23% to 55,000 in 2015. Complaints about money transfers jumped 26% to 2,400 complaints last year, versus a year earlier.
In its analysis of complaints, the CFPB signaled to financial institutions that it is using "cohort and text analytics to identify trends and possible consumer harm."
Cohort analysis is the study of the behavior of groups of people; text analytics involves analyzing text to extract useful information.
The bureau said complaint analysis "may prompt investigation of individual complaints or groups of complaints" with "possible referral" to the bureau's division of supervision, enforcement and fair lending and equal opportunity.