The Fine Print Blog

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

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established by Congress in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. The CFPB has a big job: protect any consumer who uses a financial product or service. How does the CFPB protect consumers? They write rules that banks must follow and they fine banks when they don't follow the rules. Only a small part of the fine goes to the government: the biggest portion is actually refunded to the people who were victims. To date, the CFPB has put over $3 billion into the pockets of everyday Americans.  

But the CFPB also does something that we find very exciting: they will handle your complaints. We think this is amazing for 3 reasons:

1. Banks will be held accountable. Speaking to the manager is no longer the last line of defense. If you have suffered a serious grievance - you have a real alternative to the bank.

2. The CFPB can see complaint trends. Why is that important? Complaints are usually a great way to figure out if there is a systematic problem. If, all of sudden, thousands of people start complaining about a small bank charging lots of hidden fees - then the CFPB can use those complaints as a clue to investigate the bank. When I used to run a credit card business, I would use complaint data internally to find out where we got things wrong.

3. The CFPB shares the data publicly - including the names of the banks. We think this is the best part of the story. Airlines are constantly ranked based upon their on-time performance. Why can't we do the same thing for complaints about banks? When I lived in the UK, the complaint data would be front-page news.

At MagnifyMoney, we love that the CFPB manages complaints and publishes the data. We want to help the CFPB advance their mission.

We have put together a simple guide on How to Complain. Don't be afraid to make the CFPB work for you!  

Starting today, MagnifyMoney will be publishing a monthly report on the most complained about banks.   

Here are some of the most interesting findings for this month:

  • Bank of America received more complaints than any other institution. A total of 35,847 complaints have been made

  • 5 of the Top 10 Most Complained About Banks are not banks!

    • 2 are mortgage companies: Nationstar and Ocwen

    • 3 are credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion

  • The most complained about product: mortgages

  • During the first 3 months of 2014, Ocwen actually received more complaints than Bank of America.  Ocwen is a mortgage-servicing company.  

  • Debt collection has rapidly risen and is now the second most complained about topic. The worst offender: a company called Encore Capital Group. Banks will sell your debt to companies like Encore Capital.

  • Experian is the most complained about credit bureau - having received 8,630 complaints

  • When adjusted for the number of branches, Capital One is the most complained about bank. They received more than one complaint for every branch that they operate.

  • When adjusted for the number of credit cards outstanding, Citibank received more complaints than any other issuer

    • The top 3 credit card complaints: Billing Disputes, Interest Rate and Identity Theft

  • In absolute numbers, New York has sent more complaints to the CFPB than any other region

  • When adjusted for the number of people, Miami had the highest per capital complaint ratio

We will be updating this data on a monthly basis.  

 

 

CFPB Data on Most Complained about Banks: See more details

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