MIDS Capstone Project Spring 2016

ACCOUNTability: An analysis of consumer financial complaints database

Team members:
Marlea Gwinn

Project Objective

We developed ACCOUNTability, as a tool that provides insight into the Consumer Complaints Database. We expect that consumers will benefit from this insight when making choices with their finances. We also think that other constituents like regulators, consumer watchdogs and companies themselves will find out project useful. Additionally, we are offering consumers a predictive tool that they can use to get information on how their complaint is likely to be resolved. This tool also provides tips to improve resolution outcome of consumer complaints.

Source data can be found here: Consumer Complaints Database

Where do we get our data from?

Our main data source is the CCD. Interest in this database has been growing steadily since it was made available. In 2015 (the most recent year with complete data), about 94,000 complaints were filed. There are now more that 500,000 complaints the database. It is about 150MB in size.

The database captures a complaint in 16 “features” including product, issue, company name, and whether the complaint was resolved. These features are either dates or categorical data. A consumer can also submit an explanation of the complaint (“narrative”) in a few paragraphs. About 10% of consumers use this textual feature.

We decided to focus on publicly-traded companies. We identified 93 such companies from about 3500 companies in the database. While this seems like a small portion, these 93 companies make up 64% of all the complaints in the database. Our work is based mostly on this subset of about 325,000 complaints.

Who do We Serve?

  • Consumers who want to learn more about financial institutions
  • Financial Institutions seeking to evaluate of themselves or competitors
  • Regulators seeking to drive policy changes around financial institutions

Last updated:

March 30, 2017