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Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Consumer complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rose 31% in the first five months of 2020, compared with the same period last year, with many complaints specifically mentioning the coronavirus pandemic.

The state of play: Through May 31, the CFPB received 142,782 complaints, according to an analysis of the bureau's records by NerdWallet.

What it means: "The CFPB relays consumer complaints about loans, credit cards, bank accounts and other financial products to financial institutions."

  • "Among 2020 complaints explicitly mentioning 'covid' or related terms, 'struggling to pay mortgage' was the top issue."

Why it matters: The study suggests the lower-than-expected number of Americans taking advantage of mortgage forbearance and other financial hardship programs may be due to a lack of knowledge rather than a lack of interest.

Watch this space: Nearly 15 million credit cards and 3 million auto loans were placed in financial hardship programs in April and 8.6% of mortgage holders were in forbearance as of June 15.

  • Those numbers are both much higher than in previous months, but well below the expectations of economists, given the extreme job losses since March.
  • A Fannie Mae national housing survey in May found that only half of mortgage holders and a third of renters were aware of relief programs.

Go deeper

23 million Americans face eviction

Natasha Blunt of New Orleans, who is at risk of eviction. Photo: Dorthy Ray/AP

The coronavirus pandemic threatens America with a new wave of homelessness due to a cratering economy, expiring unemployment stimulus payments and vanishing renter protections.

What they're saying: "I've never seen this many people poised to lose their housing in such a short period of time," said Bill Faith of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio to AP.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.