On November 24, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its latest Monthly Complaint Report for October 2015, which provides an overview of three-month trends in consumer complaints.  This Monthly Report also highlights consumer complaints related to “bank accounts and services” and consumer complaints from Connecticut.

Bank Accounts or Services Complaint Spotlight

According to the Monthly Complaint Report, the CFPB handled more than 749,400 consumer complaints between July 21, 2011, and November 1, 2015.  Approximately 75,300 complaints related to “bank accounts or services.”  Consumers select the “bank accounts or services” category to describe their complaint if it relates to a deposit account or service offered by banks, credit unions, or nonbank companies.  The issues consumers complained about related to bank accounts or services include:

  • Problems opening and managing accounts: approximately 44% of the “bank accounts or services” complaints relate to consumers being unable to open an account and not being informed about the basis for the denial.
  • Issues related to depositing and withdrawing funds: consumers complained about restrictions being placed on their accounts, such as holds being placed on deposited checks and restrictions on deposits using mobile wallets.

The Monthly Complaint Report indicates that Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase were the most complained about companies related to bank accounts or services.

National Complaint Overview

Across all consumer financial products and services regulated by the CFPB, the Monthly Complaint Report includes the following statistics for October 2015:

  • 24,300 consumer complaints were submitted;
  • consumer complaints increased 6% between September 2015 and October 2015;
  • the most complained about consumer financial product or service was debt collection, which accounted for approximately 28 percent of all complaints;
  • credit reporting was the second most complained about consumer financial product or service;
  • complaints related to prepaid products rose 193 percent in a year-to-year comparison for the time period of August to October;
  • complaints related to payday loans showed the greatest percentage decrease in a year-to-year comparison for the time period of August to October;
  • Idaho had the greatest complaint volume increase year-to-year, with a percentage increase of 66%; and
  • Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian were the top three most complained about companies between June and August 2015.

Connecticut Complaints

In addition to providing national consumer financial complaint trends, the Monthly Complaint Report also highlights complaints originating from the Hartford, Connecticut metro area.  Of the 749,400 complaints that have been submitted to the CFPB, 8,300 originated from Connecticut and 2,500 from the Hartford metro area.  Consumer complaints submitted by Connecticut consumers revealed the following:

  • Mortgage-related complaints comprised the most common financial product or service complained about, making up nearly 28 percent of all Connecticut based complaints;
  • Connecticut consumer complaints largely mirror national trends, with 21 percent related to debt collection; and
  • Connecticut consumers complained most about Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Equifax, and Experian.

CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database

In June 2012, the CFPB launched its Consumer Complaint Database, which permits consumers to submit complaints about consumer financial products and services.  Once the CFPB receives a complaint it forwards the complaint to the relevant company for a response.  Companies generally have 15 days to respond to the complaint, unless an extension is secured in the meantime.  The consumer complaint and company’s response, if one is provided, is published on the public facing Consumer Complaint Database, which can be accessed and viewed by the public.  The information provided on the database can be valuable to not only consumers, but also to companies.  For example, it provides a valuable tool for companies to understand how consumers view the quality of the company’s products and services.  It also provides companies with an opportunity to evaluate whether complaint trends suggest that problems exist with certain products and services that need to be addressed to avoid or minimize regulatory action.  As such, although the Consumer Complaint Database is not generally viewed favorably by financial industry companies, it can provide valuable information.

For more information on the CFPB’s consumer complaint process go here: https://www.stinson.com/Resources/PDF_Files/Navigating_CFPBs_Consumer_Complaint_Process.aspx.

You can view the CFPB’s Monthly Complaint Report here:  http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201511_cfpb_monthly-complaint-report-vol-5.pdf.

You can view the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database here: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaintdatabase/.