CFPB Office of Servicemember Affairs Annual Report Highlights Consumer Complaints From Military Families

On June 13, 2022, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued the Office of Servicemember Affairs Annual Report for 2021.  The report focuses primarily on customer complaints, highlighting issues related to credit reporting, debt collection, and medical billing. 

According to the CFPB, it received more than 42,700 customer complaints from servicemembers in 2021, a 5% increase from 2020 and up 19% from 2019.  Servicemembers have submitted more than 250,000 complaints to the CFPB since 2011.  Complaints regarding credit or consumer reporting represented 41% of the complaints, followed by debt collection at 21%.  Mortgage (10%), credit card (8%) and deposit accounts (8%) rounded out the top five categories of complaints.  While the overall volume has increased, the categories and percentages of complaints received by the CFPB have been generally consistent by issue and/or financial product over the past several years.

While the servicemember complaints about credit reporting resembled civilian complaints on the subject, the CFPB report notes the higher stakes to servicemembers, including possible risk to their security clearance on the basis of credit issues.  The report concludes that nationwide consumer reporting companies were not responsive to servicemember requests to resolve credit reporting issues.

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