Since last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been taking complaints about mortgages and credit cards. Unfortunately, if you had an issue with your checking account or savings account, you were pretty much out of luck.
That's officially changing this week. Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB, writes this week in The Huffington Post that the Bureau has begun taking banking complaints on its newly redesigned website, cfpb.gov:
That is why I am so pleased to announce that today we are expanding our consumer response system to take consumer complaints on checking and savings accounts. By the end of the year, we will be taking consumer complaints on all consumer financial products and services. But adding deposit accounts is an important step for us.
Deposit accounts play a critical role in the lives of most Americans. We use our checking accounts and other bank services for cashing paychecks, paying monthly bills, making purchases, withdrawing funds, and managing our money. Many of us store our rainy day fund in a savings account. But checking and savings accounts -- whether they are with a credit union, a thrift, or a bank -- can also be a source of great frustration. We have heard story after story of consumers being hit with fees they did not expect and do not understand. We take these complaints very seriously.
We are looking for ways to innovate and improve the consumer complaint process. We expect banks to respond to complaints within 15 days and close them within 60 days. We have also created a 21st century system where consumers can log in to our website at any time and check the status of their case.
The complaint form itself is simple and straightforward. Disgruntled bank customers need minimal information to get a complaint going: just your contact information and a brief account of what happened, and the site even provides a live chat to help complete the process.
While we'll have to wait and see how well the CFPB follows up on banking complaints, I'm impressed with the mechanism they've set up. It's miles away from the phone- and snail-mail- based consumer complaint processes we've historically seen from government agencies.
If you end up filing a banking complaint, I'd really appreciate it if you'd drop me a line to let me know how it went.
What do you think? Is the CFPB on the right track? Will you be filing a complaint?
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