March 01, 2012

CFPB taking complaints on checking accounts

March 2, 2012 – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday said it has begun accepting consumer complaints about checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit and related services, and will respond initially to complaints by forwarding them to the consumer's financial institution.

The bureau said it expects financial institutions to respond to complaints within 15 days and that it seeks to close all complaints within 60 days.

After submitting a complaint, consumers are given a tracking number and can log in to the CFPB website to at any time and check the status of their case. The bureau notes each complaint will be processed individually. Consumers will have the option to dispute an institution's resolution of the complaint.

This is the third phase of the CFPB's complaint process implementation. The bureau began taking complaints about credit cards last July and on mortgages and other home loans in December.

As of Feb. 22, the bureau said its consumer response team had received more than 20,000 complaints, including nearly 7,000 on mortgages and almost 12,000 on credit cards. It has seen three major issue areas with respect to credit cards: consumer confusion, third-party fraud, and factual disputes between the consumer and the card issuer. The biggest complaint source regarding mortgages has been foreclosures, it says, and the majority of those have been sent to companies for review and response.

On the topic of banking accounts, the Bureau anticipates receiving complaints in five categories:

  • account opening, closing, and management;
  • deposits and withdrawals;
  • using a debit or ATM card;
  • making or receiving payments and sending money to others; and
  • problems related to low account funds.

The CFPB says complaints can be submitted via the bureau's website, mail, fax, or telephone (dial 855-411-CFPB). It says its U.S.-based call centers handle calls with little or no wait times, provide services for the hearing- and speech-impaired and can assist the public in 187 languages.

The CFPB has yet to release its complaint data to the public. NAFCU is continuing its dialogue with bureau officials and staff about the need to ensure that any information that is released is based on fact and not unchecked assertions.