If you have a complaint about your bank, thrift
or credit union, it's always best to first try to resolve it with
the institution itself. Here are some tips for complaining when the
bank makes an error with your account.
||Before you complain, write a note
to yourself describing the nature of the problem and what you
want the bank to do about it. This will help you discuss the
matter briefly and clearly -- and you're offering a possible
solution, not just presenting a problem.
||Complain as soon as possible. This
is especially important when you're dealing with financial institutions,
because you have a limited time to complain after you receive
notice of a problem, such as a bank statement.
||Assemble all the papers you need,
such as canceled checks and account statements, and be prepared
to hand over copies.
||If an employee is unable or unwilling
to help, contact someone higher up. Unless the mistake is very
simple, talking to a teller will rarely help. Your best bet
may be to speak with the branch manager.
||Don't be coy when someone asks you
for your name, address and phone number.
||Threatening to alert the media probably
won't get you anywhere.
If you've given your bank an appropriate amount of
time to correct the error and you don't believe the bank is making
a good-faith effort to resolve the situation, consider filing a
complaint with the federal or state agency that oversees your financial
||When contacting one of the agencies, be
sure to include:
It's not wise to disclose account numbers and other
confidential information in an e-mail since it may not be secure.
It's best to use the U.S. Postal Service when filing a formal complaint.
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or OCC, supervises,
charters and regulates all national banks.
The OCC requires formal complaints to be in writing,
but you may first contact a customer assistance specialist by phone
if you wish at (800) 613-6743.
To contact the OCC by mail:
Customer Assistance Group
1301 McKinney Street
Houston, TX 77010
Reserve oversees state-chartered banks that are members of the
Federal Reserve System.
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Division of Consumer and Community Affairs
20th and C Street, N.W., Stop 801
Washington, DC 20551
The Federal Reserve requires that you state your complaint in writing.
If you need to follow up, you may contact them by phone at (202)
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) directly examines and supervises about 5,250 banks and savings banks, more than half of the institutions in the banking system. Banks have the choice of being chartered by the states or by the federal government; the FDIC is the primary federal regulator of banks that are chartered by the states that do not join the Federal Reserve System. In addition, the FDIC is the back-up supervisor for the remaining insured banks and thrift institutions.
The FDIC has an online consumer assistance form that allows you to state your case involving an FDIC-regulated institution.
of Thrift Supervision oversees federal savings and loans and
federally chartered savings banks. All complaints must be in writing
Office of Thrift Supervision
Office of Consumer Programs
1700 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20552
Credit Union Administration oversees federal credit unions and
all credit unions in Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming and Washington,
The NCUA requires that complaints regarding federal
credit unions be filed with the NCUA
regional office for your state.
credit unions and thrifts are supervised by the state that charters
Many online banks will be federally chartered national banks and
will be regulated by the OCC. Check the bank's Web site for information.