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CFPB says NH leads country in mortgage complaints

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 08. 2013 1:31AM

When it comes to complaints about mortgages, New Hampshire leads the nation, according to the latest data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has been collecting and pursuing consumer complaints on financial services since it opened for business in 2011.

In two years, it has amassed a database of more than 113,000 cases from around the country, and on May 31 expanded the

database to include state-by-state information.

The top states per capita for mortgage complaints are, in order: New Hampshire, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Georgia and Florida.

Of the 912 complaints posted on the site from New Hampshire zip codes, 646 were mortgage-related, most of them involving loan modification, collection or foreclosure. Other categories include credit cards, credit reporting, student loans, bank accounts or services and home equity loans.

The top states per capita for credit card complaints are the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey.

And the top states per capita for bank account and service complaints are the District of Columbia, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Maryland.

Anyone with Internet access can now track, sort, search, and download complaints listed in the consumer complaint database.

According to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau statement, the database expanded in March from more than 19,000 credit card complaints to nearly 90,000 complaints on credit cards, mortgages, student loans, bank accounts and services, and other consumer loans, like auto loans.

On May 31, the bureau added complaints about money transfers and credit reporting services to the database.

The live database updates nightly, so as the CFPB handles more complaints, more are added.

"This data puts valuable information in the hands of consumers to help them understand what is happening in their states," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "And by adding credit reporting and money transfer complaints to the Consumer Complaint Database, we are making these important markets more transparent and accountable to all consumers."

The CFPB was founded as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in response to the financial meltdown of 2008 and ensuing recession.

The database allows the public to see what consumers complained about and why. It includes the type of complaint, the date of submission and the company that the complaint concerns. Consumers are not identified.

Complaints are listed in the database only after the company responds to the complaint or after it has had the complaint for 15 days, whichever comes first.

"The CFPB uses the complaints along with other information, such as the timeliness of the company's response, in a variety of ways, for example, to help prioritize complaints for investigation," Cordray said.

The CFPB took public comments on expanding the database prior to a new policy statement issued in March, in which the bureau noted the opposition of the financial services industry.

"Industry commenters generally opposed the inclusion of additional complaint data in the public database, and reiterated opposition to the database itself," according to the policy statement on the CFPB website. "Although they endorsed the intended goals of the public database, many industry commenters asserted that the database would confuse consumers and unfairly damage the reputation of companies."

Consumer groups and individual consumers who filed comments endorsed the expansion.

Consumers can submit a complaint online at; call toll-free at 855-411-2372; fax 855-237-2392; or mail to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa 52244.

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