Consumer Group Finds Racial Disparity in Bank Complaints

October 9, 2013
Washington Post 

People in minority neighborhoods are more likely to file complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) about their banks than those in predominantly white communities are, according to a new report from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC). The group analyzed more than 17,000 grievances submitted to the CFPB from bank customers who encountered problems while trying to open accounts, deposit and withdraw money, and use debit cards, among other issues.

Based on the ZIP codes included in the complaints and Census Bureau data, researchers discovered that black and Latino neighborhoods reported a disproportionate number of difficulties with their banks. Consumers in black neighborhoods, for example, made up just 6 percent of households studied but represented almost 10 percent of complaints to the consumer financial watchdog. "The level of products and services serving communities of color continues to be second-rate," remarked NCRC President and CEO John Taylor. "There isn't the same level of commitment to communities of color from the banks tat we'd all like to see." The report found that while banks were more likely to try to resolve problems with consumers from predominantly white areas, minority consumers were more likely to be compensated for their grievances.

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