CFPB Releases Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Annual Report
03/30/17 – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released its sixth annual report summarizing activities to administer the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
This year’s report describes activities conducted by the CFPB and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) during 2016 in relation to debt collection. The CFPB and the FTC work closely to coordinate debt collection enforcement actions among other matters related to debt collection.
According to the report, debt collection is an $11.4 billion dollar industry that employs more than 130,000 people across approximately 8,500 collection agencies in the United States. The debt collection industry affects millions of Americans. According to a recent CFPB survey of US consumers, about one-third of consumers with credit files – or about 70 million Americans – were contacted by a creditor or third-party debt collector attempting to collect a debt in the past year.
Debt collectors generate most of their revenue from collections of medical debt, student loans, and financial services obligations such as credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages. Financial services are the largest source of revenue for the industry, accounting for more than a third of all debt collection revenue. Consumer debt has continued to increase since 2013 and is approaching its 2008 peak. However, growth in consumer debt has been fueled primarily by increases in non-housing debt.
The report provides a background on the debt collection market; contains an overview of consumer complaints submitted to the CFPB and the FTC in 2016; and summarizes the Bureau’s supervisory activities in the debt collection market. The report also describes the Bureau’s and the Commission’s enforcement actions; describes amicus curiae briefs filed in cases related to the FDCPA; presents the CFPB’s and FTC’s consumer education and outreach initiatives; and discusses developments in the Bureau’s rulemaking activities and the FTC’s policy and research initiatives.