The Magic of Fintech? Insights for a Regulatory Agenda from Analyzing Student Loan Complaints Filed with the CFPB

54 Pages Posted: 5 May 2022 Last revised: 29 Nov 2022

See all articles by Matthew A. Bruckner

Matthew A. Bruckner

Howard University School of Law

CJ Ryan

University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law; American Bar Foundation

Date Written: May 5, 2022

Abstract

This paper looks at consumer complaints about student loan lenders and servicers from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) consumer complaint database. Using a novel dataset drawn from 30,678 complaints filed against 212 student loan companies, we analyze consumers’ subjective views about whether traditional or fintech student loan lenders and servicers provide a better customer experience. Overall, we find that consumers initiate far fewer complaints against fintech lenders than traditional lenders. But we find that fintech lenders are twenty-eight times more likely than traditional lenders to receive complaints for making confusing or misleading advertisements. Our data also show that complaints against fintech lenders or servicers have not risen in parallel with greater loan volume by those firms, despite the rising number of complaints being filed against traditional lenders and servicers, as those firms continue to dominate the market share of student loan lending and servicing. We consider various reasons for this difference, including whether this means fintech student loan companies are providing a better consumer experience.

Keywords: CFPB, student loans, fintech, lending, servicing, consumer law

JEL Classification: C01, D12, D18, E21, E44, G21, H52, H81, I21, I22, I23, I24, I28, K19, K23, K29

Suggested Citation

Bruckner, Matthew A. and Ryan, Christopher, The Magic of Fintech? Insights for a Regulatory Agenda from Analyzing Student Loan Complaints Filed with the CFPB (May 5, 2022). 127 Dickinson Law Review 1 (2022), Howard Law Research Paper, University of Louisville School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series 2022-6, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4101295

Matthew A. Bruckner (Contact Author)

Howard University School of Law ( email )

2900 Van Ness Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
United States

Christopher Ryan

University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law ( email )

Wilson W. Wyatt Hall
Louisville, KY 40292
United States

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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