Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Launches Advocacy Program for Customers Unhappy with their Banks

Consumers need someone on their side to keep banks and credit unions accountable. That’s the latest assignment for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is also taking complaints about credit cards, mortgages, and other home loans.

 

Consumers can file a bank account complaint with the CFPB using the Bureau’s website, or via mail, fax, or telephone. With regard to banking, their interests include

  • 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 Bureau has taken up the cause of overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees and penalties. They propose a “Penalty Box” on bank statements that will clearly indicate overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees, and what the consumer can do to avoid them – text alerts, automatic transfers from a linked savings account, and opting out of overdraft coverage on debit and ATM transactions.

 

They’re also contemplating initiatives about student loans, being the single agency now responsible for watching out for all students and families who choose to borrow private student loans.

 

In the area of mortgages, the Bureau matches-up homeowners facing foreclosure with HUD-approved housing counselors, at no cost, with the goal of helping the consumer organize finances, explore options, and reach a workable solution.

 

The CFPB expects banks to respond to complaints within 15 days and tries to close all complaints within 60 days. Consumers get a tracking number after submitting a complaint. If a bank or credit union encounters an issue arising from the Bureau’s regulatory activities, the CFPB Ombudsman’s Office can be used as an independent, impartial, confidential resource to help them resolve it.

 

Consumers with complaints on bank accounts, credit cards, and mortgages may contact the Bureau at ConsumerFinance.gov or call 1-855-411-CFPB.

 

 

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