California’s Top Financial Complaints in 2016

Studies
California's Top Financial Complaints in 2016

Californians, who hold about 10% of residential mortgages in the U.S., accounted for almost 17% of the country’s mortgage-related complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from January to November 2016.

The government agency received 36,680 complaints about mortgages from across the U.S. during that period, making it the second-most complained-about financial product or service of the 11 widely tracked by the CFPB, behind credit reporting. California homeowners filed 6,125 of the complaints, which translates into a per capita rate of 15.65 per 100,000 people. That rate is 37% higher than the national mortgage complaint rate of 11.41 per 100,000.

California also surpassed the national per capita rates in four other categories that each drew more than 10% of all consumer complaints.

The state’s complaint rate for credit reporting was 13.06 per 100,000 residents, compared with the U.S. rate of 12.4 per 100,000. California accounted for 12.8% of 39,872 such complaints nationwide. More than 70% of Californians’ complaints about credit reporting centered around incorrect information on credit reports.

Californians filed 13.3% of the nation’s 34,915 debt collection complaints. This translated into a per-capita complaint rate of 11.89 per 100,000 people in the state. The U.S. rate was 10.86 per 100,000. The top issue specified in Californians’ complaints had to do with continued attempts to collect debts that were not owed.

The per-capita rate of banking complaints in the Golden State was 7.27 per 100,000 residents, 1.4 points higher than the national rate of 5.86 per 100,000. California residents registered 15.1% of all complaints about bank accounts and services in the U.S., which totaled 18,845. Banking-related complaints comprised an 11.9% share of the state’s total complaints. The most cited issue in Californians’ complaints was about the opening, closing or management of accounts.

California’s credit card complaint rate was 6.81 per 100,000 people, surpassing the U.S. rate of 5.7 per 100,000. Roughly 14.6% — or 2,666 — of the nation’s 18,327 credit card complaints came from California. The top issue specified by Californians was billing disputes.

 

Overall, the number of consumer complaints coast to coast was up 9.3% for the first 11 months of 2016 compared with the same period a year ago. The CFPB said it wasn’t clear whether the upswing was caused by worsening conditions or greater consumer awareness of the bureau’s efforts.

See the full report for more details about the analysis and methodology.

Caren Weiner Campbell is a staff writer at NerdWallet. Email: ccampbell@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ccampbell_nw.