U.S. consumers have lodged almost 19,000 gripes against banks and credit unions since the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s public Consumer Complaints Database. The watchdog’s mission is to “identify dangerous and unfair financial practices, to educate consumers about these practices, and to regulate the financial institutions that perpetuate them.”
The most common source of grievance were checking accounts, according to the report from the US PIRG Education Fund, making up 78 percent of the volume. Issues included difficulties with opening, closing, or managing accounts as well as problems with deposits and withdrawals. Ninety percent of all complaints to the CFPB involved the same 25 or so U.S. banks -- including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Capital One. Midwest-based TCF National had the highest ratio of complaints to total deposits, with 24.9 gripes per billion dollars in deposits. Based on total complaints filed, Wells Fargo was the most frequent subject of consumer complaints in 24 states. Vermont was found to have the worst complaints-to-deposits ratio in the United States. Banks respond to 95 percent of complaints, but about one in every five resolutions is still disputed by the consumer.