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.