The Fine Print Blog

The MagnifyMoney team will share their thoughts as they work to save you money and hold banks accountable. 

  • Bank of America remains America's most complained about bank
  • Ocwen has rapidly become America's most complained about mortgage servicer. (Not surprising, given the mistakes they have made. If you are a customer, you could get money back from them. Find out more here.)
  • Citibank Credit Cards have the highest complaint ratio (complaints as a % of total credit cards)
  • Capital One received the most retail bank complaints per branch (with Bank of America a close second)
  • Experian is the most complained about credit bureau
  • Encore Capital Group is the most complained about debt collector

 

If you are having a problem with your bank, you can get help with your complaint from the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). Just file your complaint online, and they will help you get answers - and maybe even money. I told the story of my friend, who had his credit history fixed and money reimbursed, in this DailyFinance article. The CFPB has received over 400,000 complaints since it was launched, providing a real alternative for people to get help.

The CFPB makes its complaint database public. To date, over 250,000 complaints have been made public (and more are being added to the database every day). At MagnifyMoney, we believe that public access to complaint data is a great public service. It enables people like us to identify trends, rank banks based upon complaints, and help consumers make good financial decisions.

Today we are pleased to release our analysis of the complaint database.

Over 76,000 complaints were made public during the first six months of the year. Of the big four banks, Bank of America remains the most complained about bank. 5,261 people complained about BofA. Wells Fargo received 4,834 complaints. Chase received 3,988 complaints and Citibank received 3,025.

What does this mean for you?

We have crunched the complaint numbers, and have the following tips:

  1. If Ocwen is your mortgage servicer (now the largest non-bank servicer in the country), you should pay close attention. They have a history of mistakes, which can be very costly. If you are having problems with Ocwen, don’t be shy. Complain to the CFPB, and tell Ocwen that you are going to complain to the CFPB. They are a bit touchy, given they have just been punished with a judgment of more than $2 billion due to their mistakes.

  2. If you are receiving calls from a collection agency, you have rights. And if someone like Encore Capital Group keeps calling you - and you don’t know why - don’t be afraid to raise the issue to the CFPB (and tell Encore that you are doing so).

  3. For choosing a retail bank, we have long argued that branch-free banking is the way to go. Traditional banks pay the lowest rates on savings accounts, charge the highest monthly and overdraft fees, and limit you to their ATM network. Look at our checking account and savings account pages to make your checking account free, earn the highest interest on your savings account, and ditch your traditional bank. Of the big banks, Chase has half as many complaints per branch at BofA. And PNC and US Bancorp always did well.

  4. Credit bureaus can make mistakes. You should check your credit report every year, and make sure that mistakes aren’t there. You are allowed to get a free report every year from all three bureaus, and make sure you do. To get the issue fixed, you can go straight to the bureau. But, if they don’t move quickly enough, use the CFPB.

  5. The biggest complaint categories for credit cards are billing disputes and ID fraud. Sign up for alerts with your credit card company (they can send you an email if a large purchase is made). You should also download your bank’s app so that you can keep an eye on spending. Any suspicious activity should be reported immediately - and you should keep a paper trail of your communication with your bank. The earlier you catch anything suspicious, the better.

At MagnifyMoney, we will continue to update the complaint database, and try to provide you with useful tips based upon the data.

 

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