How & Where to File a Complaint Against a Bank or Credit Card Company

If you have been mistreated by a bank of credit card company, or have had difficulties resolving an issue it is in your best interest as a consumer to initiate a consumer complain with the federal agency regulating the financial institution in question.  While it may feel like a waste of time to do so, be assured that every complaint submitted by a consumer does make a difference.

The first step in filing a complaint about a bank or credit card company is figuring out where and how to submit it. There are a variety of agencies that regulate financial institutions and figuring out which agency to contact can be a challenge.

Two easy ways to determine who to contact are listed below:

  • The FDIC has published an easy-to-use, searchable database of financial institutions. This online tool will provide you with the primary regulator you should contact, as well as other useful information. >>Visit the FDIC Institution Directory now.
  • If are still unsure, or are not able to access the FDIC’s database, call the Office of the Comptroller’s  Customer Assistance Group at 1-800-613-6743. Their representatives are there to help consumers like you find out the correct agency to contact with a question or complaint. The Federal Reserve can also assist with this. You can reach them toll-free at 888-851-1920.

Some of the possible agencies you will be reaching out to include:

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – The OCC regulates national banks, federal savings associations and thrifts. This is the agency you want to contact if the financial institution’s name includes the words “National Bank” or “N.A.” or against a credit card issued through a national bank such as Chase, KeyBank, National City Bank or Huntington Bank.

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau – On July 21, 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the Bureau) took over responsibility for handling certain consumer complaints against the nation’s largest financial institutions. To learn more about the Bureau and its responsibilities, click here.

The FDIC – Regulates state chartered banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve system. The FDIC’s Consumer Response Center is responsible for investigating all types of consumer complaints about FDIC-supervised institutions and responding to consumer inquiries about consumer laws and regulations. You may call and speak to a Consumer Affairs Specialist about your concerns. However, in order for them to investigate or review your issues, they must receive your complaint in writing.

The National Credit Union Administration – the NCUA regulates federal and state-chartered credit unions.


Submitting Your Complaint

1. Prepare the information the financial institution will need to take action.  

A complaint must include, at a minimum, your name, address and account information.  You will also want to include your phone number and/or e-mail address for future communications. In your complaint, include a detailed description of what occurred and explain why the situation is unsatisfactory. Whenever possible specify dates and names of any company representatives you may have dealt with.

2. Gather documentation or evidence

Be sure to have any backup documentation , such as a monthly statement from the bank or your loan agreement, or any evidence needed to prove your claim. The burden of proof will inevitably be on you. Also include a detailed description of how you want the company to resolve the issue. Be as specific as possible. Include as much as you can with your initial complaint.

3. Submit and Follow-Up

Once you have written the most thorough complaint possible, submit it using the recommended method(s) specified by the agency. Keep a copy for your personal records. Be sure to follow up with the agency if you do not hear back from them within 2-5 business days.

Some helpful tips:

  • If you are dealing with a state bank, be aware that the bank may also fall under the supervision of a state banking regulator.
  • In addition to submitting your complaint with the regulating agency, we also suggest you submit one via the Better Business Bureau.

Mortgage Moves: How many loan offers will you get?

Mortgage Moves: How many loan offers will you get? graphic

Note: This is the fifth blog in a series where you can make choices about buying your first home.

Let’s look at what happens when you find the right home. This is an exciting time. When you find a home that’s right for you, you can see your future. But, most people will need a mortgage to pay for their home, which means you still need to find the right mortgage for you. Once you have a specific home in mind, it’s time to start the mortgage application process.

You don’t need any written documentation to begin your loan application process, you just need to provide six key pieces of information to get a Loan Estimate. However, the more information you can provide a loan officer about your financial situation, the more accurate the information on your Loan Estimate is likely to be. Here are the six items that you need to provide:

  • Your name
  • Your income
  • Your social security number (so the lender can check your credit)
  • The address of the home you plan to purchase
  • An estimate of the home’s value (typically, the sale price)
  • The loan amount you want to borrow (typically, the home price minus your down payment amount)

A Loan Estimate shows you the terms the lender expects to offer you if you decide to move forward with your loan application and the lender approves your loan. It lays out an estimate of the costs you can expect to pay for the loan.

How many Loan Estimates will you get?

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I’ll just get one Loan Estimate, from one lender

While it may be tempting to work with just one lender, we recommend shopping around for your mortgage loan, and a great way to do that is to get at least three Loan Estimates from three different lenders. Loan costs can vary widely from lender to lender, so this is one place where some exploration may help you save a lot of money. We’ve done research showing that a borrower taking out a 30-year fixed-rate conventional loan could get rates that vary by more than half a percent. This can mean a difference of thousands of dollars over the 30 years of the loan.

It’s also relatively easy to get a Loan Estimate. You’re not required to provide written documentation to get a Loan Estimate. However, the more information you give a potential lender, the more accurate and useful the Loan Estimate will likely be. The only fee a lender can charge you is a small upfront fee to pay for pulling your credit report, usually no more than $20. Getting multiple Loan Estimates won’t hurt your credit, so long as you get them all within the same 45-day window.

If you haven’t seen our other Mortgage Move blogs, get started with the first in our series. You can also sign up for our “Owning a Home” email list to get updates on our tools and resources for homebuyers.

For a more in-depth look into the steps and decisions that go into buying and financing a home, visit “Owning a Home.” Here, you can learn what to expect when buying a home, and what questions to ask in order to find the best mortgage for you.


I’ll get at least three Loan Estimates, from multiple lenders

Good choice. We recommend shopping around for your mortgage loan, and a great way to do that is to get at least three Loan Estimates from three different lenders. Just like other big purchases, it makes sense to see what your options are. We’ve done research showing that a borrower taking out a 30-year fixed-rate conventional loan could get rates that vary by more than half a percent. This can mean a difference of thousands of dollars over the 30 years of the loan.

It’s also relatively easy to get a Loan Estimate. You’re not required to provide written documentation to get a Loan Estimate. The only fee a lender can charge you is a small upfront fee to pay for pulling your credit report, usually no more than $20. Getting multiple Loan Estimates won’t hurt your credit, so long as you get them all within the same 45-day window.

If you haven’t seen our other Mortgage Move blogs, get started with the first in our series. You can also sign up for our “Owning a Home” email list to get updates on our tools and resources for homebuyers.

For a more in-depth look into the steps and decisions that go into buying and financing a home, visit “Owning a Home.” Here, you can learn what to expect when buying a home, and what questions to ask in order to find the best mortgage for you.

This post was originally published on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's blog. Link: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/mortgage-moves-how-many-loan-offers-will-you-get/ Author: Erica Kritt

Read more here.


You have the right to talk to a real person

When you have an issue with a financial product or service, you have the right to have your complaint heard and responded to. Many people submit complaints to us online on their own, but did you know that you can also call our toll-free number to talk to a real person and get help submitting a complaint?

What do I need to have ready before submitting a complaint?

  • Information about the product or service – We’ll need to know the type of product or service you have a complaint about. In addition, it helps to be prepared with as many specifics related to the complaint as you can. For example, if you are having problems with a mortgage, it can help to be prepared with the type of loan you have and exactly what part of the mortgage process you had an issue with.
  • A prepared statement – While submitting a complaint, you will be asked to make a short statement about what happened. If you submit your complaint over the phone, the contact center representative will take your statement down word-for-word, so be sure of exactly what information you would like to share. Be sure to include key facts and dates. Keep in mind that unlike submitting online, you will not be able to attach supporting information, like documents, to your complaint. Supporting information helps companies to address your issues better. Therefore, if you have supporting documents, you may want to submit your complaint online.
  • Name of company – If you have it, be ready with the exact name and any other helpful information about the company that supplied the products or services you are submitting a complaint about.
  • Your contact information – We’ll need your name and address to contact you about your complaint, and forward it to the company for a response. However, if you can provide an email address, you’ll get near real-time updates by email instead, and you can also log in to review the company’s response and give your feedback.

What happens after I submit a complaint?

We work to forward your complaint to the company and work to get you a response – generally within 15 days. Companies are expected to close all but the most complicated complaints within 60 days. Regardless of whether you submit your complaint by phone or online, you will be able to review the company’s response and give your feedback. If we find that another agency would be better able to assist, we will forward your complaint and let you know.

Give us a call

If you need help submitting your complaint online, want to submit your complaint by phone, or have other questions, give us a call. Our U.S.-based contact centers are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST and provide services in more than 180 languages through our toll-free telephone number, (855) 411-CFPB (2372). We also provide services to consumers who are deaf, have hearing loss, or have speech disabilities through our TTY/TDD number: (855) 729-CFPB (2372).

This post was originally published on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's blog. Link: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/you-have-the-right-to-talk-to-a-real-person/ Author: Chris Johnson

Read more here.


Mortgage Moves: What kind of mortgage will you get?

Mortgage Moves: What kind of mortgage will you get? graphic

Note: This is the fourth blog in a series where you can make choices about buying your first home.

Choosing the right mortgage isn’t quite as fun as shopping for the right home, but it’s just as important. Most people will need a mortgage to buy a home, which means that the choices you make on your mortgage will affect your bottom line every month for years to come.

The most popular mortgage is a 30-year fixed mortgage, which means the interest rate won’t change, and your payments are calculated so that you’ll pay off your home in 30 years. But, this is not the only mortgage option.

Just as you look for certain features in a home — like having a two-car garage, having a yard, or the right location — there are many features to choose from when getting a mortgage.

As you continue your journey, how will you decide what kind of mortgage to get?

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I’ll explore my loan options

Good Choice. While a 30-year fixed might wind up being the best choice for you, you should know your options.

A loan option is actually three distinct choices:

  1. Loan term – The term of your loan is how long you have to repay the loan.
  2. Interest rate type – Interest rates come in two basic types: fixed (stays the same over time) and adjustable.
  3. Loan type – Mortgage loans are organized into categories based on the size of the loan and whether they are part of a government program.

You’ll want to check out our guide to understand loan options in “Owning Home” to explore these three factors in detail. The option that is right for you will also depend on your down payment and the amount you can pay each month.

“Owning a Home” has a helpful tool that can help you explore interest rates for different loan options. Here you can play around to see what different mortgage options might mean for you in terms of the interest rate you can expect. The interest rate you receive is a big factor in determining the size of your mortgage payments.

You can find all this information and more in “Owning a Home,” which has lots of resources for anyone thinking about buying a home. Sign up for our “Owning a Home” email list to get an alert when we’ve published the next in our series.


I know I want a 30-year fixed

A 30-year fixed-rate loan is a good choice for many people, but it’s not the only kind of loan available. Depending on your circumstances and goals, you might also see if a different kind of loan might suit you better. There are a lot of options to consider when it comes to a mortgage loan that will affect how much you pay on a month-to-month basis. The kind of loan you choose also affects the level of risk you take on.

A loan option is actually three distinct choices:

  1. Loan term – The term of your loan is how long you have to repay the loan.
  2. Interest rate type – Interest rates come in two basic types: fixed (stays the same over time) and adjustable.
  3. Loan type – Mortgage loans are organized into categories based on the size of the loan and whether they are part of a government program.

You’ll want to check out our guide to understand loan options in “Owning a Home” to explore these three factors in detail. The option that is right for you will also depend on your down payment and the amount you can pay each month.

“Owning a Home” has a helpful tool that can help you explore interest rates for different loan options. Here you can play around to see what different mortgage options might mean for you in terms of the interest rate you can expect. The interest rate you receive is a big factor in determining the size of your mortgage payments.

You can find all this information and more in “Owning a Home,” which has lots of resources for anyone thinking about buying a home. Sign up for our “Owning a Home” email list to get an alert when we’ve published the next in our series.

This post was originally published on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's blog. Link: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/mortgage-moves-what-kind-of-mortgage-will-you-get/ Author: Erica Kritt

Read more here.


Save the date: Join us for a Community Bank Advisory Council meeting in Washington, D.C.

Join the CFPB’s Credit Union Advisory Council for a meeting with Director Cordray where we will discuss the CFPB’s strategic outlook and elder financial abuse. The meeting will take place on Thursday, April 21 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Second Floor Auditorium
1275 First Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002

This event is open to the public, but RSVP is required to attend. Send us an email to RSVP. A recording of the event will be available after the event. You can also take a look at the meeting agenda.

If you need an accommodation to participate, you can make a request.

See you there!

This post was originally published on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's blog. Link: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/save-the-date-join-us-for-a-community-bank-advisory-council-meeting-in-washington-d-c-20160421/ Author: Delicia Hand

Read more here.


Creating your own financial rules to live by

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Have you ever heard common financial wisdom, from family and friends or financial experts, and said to yourself, “that sounds right, but I can’t do that”? Consumers have told us that they sometimes find common financial advice — like “save 10% of your income” — hard to apply to their own circumstances. Some common financial advice may feel beyond your reach based on your current financial situation.

Don’t feel discouraged — you can create your own personal rules to live by that work for your financial situation. We have created three worksheets to help you create your own money rules around savings, checking your credit report, and spending and budgeting. These worksheets can help you decide on a goal, create a personal financial rule to live by, and make a promise to yourself to act on your goal. And using the worksheet to write down your goal will make you much more likely to stick to it.

Just like lane markers on a highway, your money rules to live by are guidelines that keep you moving in the right direction. You might have to speed some things up, slow down others, or change lanes from time to time, but your money rules can help you reach your financial destination.

To read the research that helped inform these worksheets, and to hear about how other consumers think and feel about rules to live by, take a look at our Consumer Voices about Financial Rules to Live By report.

If you are a financial educator or work with consumers around money issues, check out the Financial Educators Digest on Financial Rules to Live By.

This post was originally published on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's blog. Link: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/creating-your-own-financial-rules-to-live-by/ Author: Irene Skricki

Read more here.