Legislative Director, MASSPIRG
Legislative Director, MASSPIRG
Boston – Thousands of Americans are using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) public Consumer Complaints Database to settle disputes with their banks, according to a new report from the MASSPIRG Education Fund. The report highlights banks that generated the most complaints through their various banking services in each state.
“The CFPB’s complaints database is a win, win, win for consumers. First, those who get ripped off or misled by their banks can get their problem resolved. Second, the complaint data identifies problematic bank practices and fees to further investigate and or regulate ,” said Deirdre Cummings, Consumer Program Director for MASSPIRG Education Fund. “And finally, the transparent website creates market pressure for banks to improve while also allowing consumers to make smarter, more informed financial choices. The CFPB database gets real results for consumers.”
The report, “Big Banks, Big Complaints: CFPB’s Consumer Complaints Database Gets Real Results for Consumers,” is the first in a series that analyzes the data in the CFPB’s Consumer Complaints Database, which accepts complaints relating to a variety of financial products and services. This first report focuses on the complaints relating to bank accounts.
Some key findings:
- The most complained-about banks in Massachusetts, adjusted for size and measured by complaints to deposit, out of the top 25 include Sovereign at #2, RBS Citizens at # 4, TD Bank at #7, Wells Fargo at #12, and Bank of America at #24.
- The banks that generated the most complaints nationally are also the largest banks in terms of billions of dollars deposited: Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase. But on a per-dollar basis, the banks that generated the most complaints are TCF National Bank, Sovereign Bank and Capital One.
- One in four complaints (28 percent) resulted in monetary relief to the consumer, and an additional 5 percent resulted in non-monetary relief to the consumer, such as adjusting account terms. A total of 95 percent of complaints were closed through the process.
- Massachusetts ranked 31st overall for our complaints-to-deposits ratio—ranking from highest to lowest based on the amount of complaints relative to the amount of banking done in each state.
- While banks respond to 95 percent of complaints, approximately one in every five resolutions is still disputed by the consumer.
To make the public database more useful to consumers, the report also highlights several changes that the CFPB should make, such as developing a mobile app version for smartphone users. Most importantly, the CFPB should analyze the data regularly and move to act on problems that become apparent through the process.
“The CFPB should use the information and analysis to implement strong consumer protections,”said Cummings. “The database is a powerful tool for the CFPB to use in setting its agenda and taking on the most egregious banking practices.”
If consumers feel they have been subject to an unfair financial practice, he or she may file a complaint with the CFPB at www.consumeerfinance.gov/complaints or by phone at 855-411-2372.
This is the first in a series of five reports by the MASSPIRG Education Fund that analyze the complaints in the CFPB’s public Consumer Complaints Database. Upcoming reports will analyze complaints relating to private student loans, credit cards, credit reporting, and debt collection.
Visit the CFPB’s public Consumer Complaints Database: www.consumerfinance.gov/complaintdatabase/
MASSPIRG Education Fund works to protect consumers and promote good government. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public, and offer meaningful opportunities for civic participation. www.masspirgedfund.org