On May 31, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a report summarizing the complaints the Bureau received from senior citizens since the CFPB opened its doors in July 2011.  In its nearly six years of operation, the Bureau has handled approximately 1,163,200 complaints, with 103,100 complaints coming from consumers 62 years of age and older.

The report spotlights those consumer protection-related issues that older consumers frequently encounter, including those that are unique to, or have unique implications for, older consumers.  For instance, consumers over 62 are more likely to submit complaints regarding mortgage servicing, while younger consumers are more likely to submit complaints regarding auto lending and student loan servicing.

The Bureau’s report highlights specific financial products, including:

  • Traditional mortgages.  Twenty-six percent of complaints from older consumers were related to mortgages, compared to only sixteen percent of complaints from consumers not considered to be older.  In addition, many senior citizens complained about servicing problems relating to the transition to a new mortgage servicer and servicers’ failures to adjust escrow payment amounts after enrolling in a tax relief program.
  • Reverse mortgages.  In 2017, a number of older consumers enrolled in reverse mortgages reported being at risk of foreclosure when they were unable to pay their property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.  Some non-borrowing spouses complained about reverse mortgage servicers’ slow response after the death of the primary borrower, delays which sometimes resulted in the initiation of foreclosure proceedings.
  • Credit cards.  Many older consumers reported using credit cards to handle large, unanticipated financial expenses, usually related to medical care.  In many instances these consumers reported that they misunderstood or did not understand completely the terms and conditions of certain products, including the distinction between deferred interest plans and no-interest plans.
  • Bank accounts and services.  Older consumers often report difficulties after being defrauded or having their identities stolen.  Furthermore, consumers described problems using a power of attorney to manage an older consumer’s bank account as well as difficulties organizing and navigating finances following the death of a spouse or family member.

A copy of the Bureau’s report is available here.