Mortgage companies top list for COVID-related complaints, says CFPB

by Ryan Smith22 May 2020

Mortgage companies top the list for COVID-19-related consumer complaints, according to new data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The CFPB on Thursday issued a report analyzing the consumer complaints it has received during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April and May, the CFPB received “historically higher complaints,” with 4,500 complaints specifically related to COVID-19 issues.

Mortgage and credit-card companies topped the list for coronavirus-related complaints, according to the CFPB.

“While credit reporting and debt collection continue to be the most complained about products overall, mortgage and credit card complaints top the list for complaints that mention coronavirus keywords, with 22% and 19% of complaints, respectively,” the CFPB said.

The CFPB also saw a 10% spike in complaints against mortgage companies in the weeks after the outbreak was declared a national emergency.

Of the consumers who complained about mortgage companies, 59% identified struggling to pay their mortgage as the issue, according to the report. Although the government has mandated mortgage forbearance on federally backed loans, consumers who complained about mortgage companies often described struggling to change loan terms – or even talk to a human being, the report said.

“Consumers described being unable to reach customer service representatives to talk with the companies about their issue,” the CFPB said. “Some consumers are reporting hold times of several hours. For those who are pursuing payment options, some described no methods other than phone to access potential options.”

While the CFPB survey showed a spike in consumers worried about paying their mortgage, a recent LendingTree study shows another side of the coin. According to LendingTree’s data, just 5% of consumers currently in a forbearance plan said they wouldn’t have been able to pay their mortgage without it. Around 70% said they applied for forbearance just to get a break from their monthly mortgage payments.