CFPB Announces Addition of Visualization Tool to Complaint Database

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday announced a new update to its consumer complaint database, adding the option of allowing viewers to view complaints via an interactive map of the United States.

Previously, individuals who accessed the CFPB’s complaints database were able to sort and view complaints by date, company name, specific keywords, and other search criteria. The new updates will allow individuals to view complaints across a specific state during a specific timeframe, to illustrate trends, to view complaints on a per-capita basis, to view aggregate information about the products and issues for which consumers submit complaints, and use specific searches and filters to view information on the map.

“The Consumer Complaint Database is a powerful tool for the Bureau to hear directly from consumers about their concerns and experiences with financial products and services,” said Kathleen Kraninger, the director of the CFPB, in a statement. “The interactive map and other enhancements are part of our effort to provide the public with additional information and context regarding consumer complaints that are received.”

The CFPB had been considering not allowing the general public to view and access the complaint database, but decided last September to keep the database open to the public. At that time, Kraninger announced that the Bureau was working on the visualization tool that it released this week.

Participants in the credit and collection industry have been critical of the database, because of what it calls a “lack of context.” While the raw number of complaints about debt collectors is high when compared with other complaints, the percentage of interactions between consumers and collectors for which a complaint represents about 0.005% of total interactions.

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