December 2, 2015

CFPB Complaint Snapshot Highlights Bank Accounts

2 min

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) collects and publishes consumer complaints and narratives on its Consumer Complaint Database. The CFPB's monthly snapshot highlights complaints regarding specific products. For November 2015, the CFPB's report focuses on bank accounts.

Opening and managing an account: 44% of bank account complaints involved consumers complaining about account management, including issues in opening accounts. Specific issues include:

  • Uncertainty as to why a company refused to open an account.
  • Confusion concerning eligibility for bonuses, account features, and promotions for specific products.
  • Issues regarding account closures where no reason for the closure was provided.
  • Difficulties opening accounts due to "adverse credit reports resulting from errors, identity theft claims, misunderstandings, and delayed updates for charged of accounts that have been settled or paid."

Transaction Disputes: A portion of complaints involved issues in resolving disputed transactions on their accounts. These consumers reported issues when they tried to submit complaints over the phone, as well as problems receiving refunded payments for cancelled transactions. Consumers reported issues with the processing of oral claims, automated clearinghouse (ACH) debits for cancelled transactions, lack of provisional credit, and discrepancies with cash dispensed and/or the deposited amount.

Depositing and withdrawing funds: Some consumers complained about having restricted access to their funds and blocks being placed on their accounts—consumers submitted complaints saying holds were placed on deposited checks, and that they were unable to make deposits via their mobile wallets.

Additionally, the CFPB reported that the most complained-about financial product or service was debt collection, representing about 28% of complaints submitted. The second most complained-about consumer product was credit reporting.

Industry participants are encouraged to monitor the CFPB's Consumer Complaint Database to catch potential issues in their earliest stages. Industry should also note the CFPB's focus on bank account issues, which would translate to supervisory and enforcement attention to these issues. For more information, please contact Venable's CFPB Task Force.