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In 2019 and 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received more complaints per capita by consumers living in minority counties than consumers that live in predominantly white and non-Hispanic counties. The CFPB issued a bulletin analyzing the complaints submitted by consumers nationwide. The analysis shows counties with the highest percentage of minorities submitted complaints at 4 times the rate compared to counties with the lowest percentage.
The most popular complaints listed among minority counties are credit or consumer reporting, debt collection, mortgage, credit card, student loans, and vehicular loans. The bulletin states "These consumers complained about credit or consumer reporting at approximately twice the U.S. average. In its 2020 Consumer Response Annual Report, the CFPB noted that a significant portion of credit or consumer reporting complaints are about attempts to address identity theft-related issues."
From 2019 to 2020, consumer complaints increased across all demographic groups. However, rates increased at a greater rate in predominantly minority counties compared to predominantly white counties.
CFPB acting director Dave Uejio said, "Today’s report shows that while all people across the nation face financial hardships, a significantly higher rate of complaints come from ethnically diverse communities. The data raise concerns that deserve our further study and, as such, we’ll keep a spotlight on patterns or any abuses we see."
Debt collection also caused more issues for consumers in predominantly minority counties. The most common debt collection complaint is about attempts to collect a debt that is not owed. Similar to consumer credit reporting, consumers report that the debt in collection was the result of identity theft.
The CFPB plans to expand demographic data collection to include household size and income, a press release states. They will also begin exploring additional information to better understand the experience of diverse communities.