In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Congress and President Obama decided that a new government agency was necessary to focus on consumers' problems with financial institutions. As a result, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began operations in 2011.
While the agency remains controversial, since some people think it is unnecessary and that it produces too many regulatory burdens on consumer financial institutions, if nothing else, there is some value in seeing what types of complaints consumers make to the agency.
For elder law advocates and attorneys, it is helpful to know what the complaints of older Americans are, so those issues can be more adequately addressed.
Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau discussed those complaints in "A snapshot of complaints made by older consumers."
Mortgages, both traditional and reverse, were a big source of complaints.
Older Americans often have difficulty dealing with lenders, especially when any changes are made, such as when a mortgage is being taking over by a different servicing company. Credit cards were another frequent source of complaints, since older Americans have found it difficult to resolve billing disputes, ID theft and being signed up for unwanted services.
Finally, dealing with banks was also a source of many complaints. Older Americans have had problems with account management, after a spouse passes away and getting banks to recognize powers of attorney.
This list of common complaints to the CFPB can be used by elder law advocates to determine what areas they should focus on, when they try to educate senior citizens about potential problems.
In turn, elder law attorneys can also use it to know what type of complaints their clients are likely to bring to them.
Reference: Consumer Financial Protect Bureau (May 31, 2017) "A snapshot of complaints made by older consumers."