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Leveraging NLP for Consumer Protection [The PerformLine Challenge]

Michael Gibney
May 23, 2024
PerformLine tasked students with devising a way to leverage Natural Language Processing to analyze complaint narratives in the CFPB’s Consumer Complaints Database.

Recently, PerformLine engaged in an exciting project with The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)’s Business Analytics MBA program. Simply titled “The PerformLine Challenge,” students were tasked with devising a way to leverage Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyze complaint narratives. Specifically, PerformLine instructed the students to focus on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Consumer Complaints Database data.

The CFPB’s Consumer Complaints database is an invaluable resource, having amassed over 5 million complaints since its establishment. The database serves as a platform for consumers to express their issues and concerns about the products and services provided by financial institutions, offering companies a window into their industry’s consumer challenges.

PerformLine wanted to see the unique ways the students would analyze and interpret this data and how they would use NLP to identify and categorize any underlying causes of consumer grievances.

For the project’s final component, PerformLine employees made the trip to TCNJ’s campus on a weekend morning to see what the MBA students had prepared, and we were not disappointed. The students’ group presentations ranged from 45 minutes to over an hour, dissecting the information from the CFPB database and surfacing many interesting data points and correlations.

One group approached the project from a unique perspective and spun the data creatively, suggesting that the demographic information combined with the types of complaints could influence future policymaking for specific areas of the United States.

Another group conducted an analysis to uncover which financial companies had the “angriest complainers” and the “least angry complainers.” They sought to establish rankings and parameters to measure that data point. 

All groups successfully classified, organized, and tagged the data for specific keywords used most often in the complaint narratives submitted to the CFPB. 

Overall, the collaboration was a great success. The students not only demonstrated their proficiency in NLP but also produced meaningful results that provided a substantial analysis of the CFPB’s complaint database. 

We’re excited to continue this partnership with TCNJ’s MBA program. Looking ahead, we eagerly anticipate future research and analysis projects and are committed to integrating these insights into PerformLine’s ongoing consumer protection initiatives.

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