Consumers in minority communities report more complaints about how they’ve been treated by financial companies than people in white communities, and the number of complaints has gone up in recent years, according to a new government report.
In 2019 and 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)—a financial services watchdog created in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis—received four times as many complaints per-capita from counties with the highest percentage of minority populations as it did from counties with the lowest minority populations, the CFPB said in a statement Wednesday.
The report shines a spotlight on inequality, reflecting the agency’s new focus under President Joe Biden to fight racial disparities in how businesses treat consumers. The CFPB has seen consumer complaints skyrocket since the pandemic began—especially complaints about credit bureaus—giving ammunition to supporters of a Biden campaign proposal to create a public credit reporting agency within the CFPB.
“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,” CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio said in the statement. “The data raise concerns that deserve our further study and, as such, we’ll keep a spotlight on patterns or any abuses we see.”