The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently released its Monthly Complaint Report for August, which highlighted consumer complaints about bank accounts and services. The report finds consumers continue to experience problems managing their accounts.
“Deposit accounts are an essential component of millions of consumers’ financial lives,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a news release. “We are concerned that consumers continue to face difficulties accessing and managing this cornerstone financial tool. Consumers who are eligible for a deposit account should be able to get one and use it effectively.”
Complaints submitted under the bank accounts and services category include products offered by banks, credit unions and nonbank companies. As of Aug. 1, the CFPB has handled approximately 954,400 total complaints across all products since the bureau’s inception in 2011. Approximately 94,200 of those were bank account or service complaints, according to the release.
The CFPB release said some of the most common consumer complaints in the banking accounts and services category include:
• Trouble opening accounts. Consumers frequently complained about negative credit reporting data when they attempted to open a new deposit account. Consumers also complained about difficulty in addressing potential errors in their credit reports that may have prevented them from opening an account.
• Overdraft fees and availability of funds. Consumers complained about overdrafts occurring as a result of confusion about the availability of funds they had deposited in their accounts or were attempting to deposit. They expressed frustration about bank check holding policies that resulted in much-needed funds not being available for an extended period.
• Frustration about financial institutions’ error resolution procedures. Consumers complained that when an unauthorized transaction occurred or they believed they were victims of fraud, they often faced prolonged response times and lack of provisional credit for disputed transactions.
The CFPB report uses a three-month rolling average of company-complaint date, comparing the current average for the months of May through July with the same period in 2015. In some cases, the report used month-to-month comparisons to highlight more immediate trends.
The report also identified common consumer complaints in other areas. For the month of July, debt collection was the most frequently complained about financial product or service, accounting for 6,546 of the approximately 24,000 complaints handled by the CFPB. Credit reporting was the second most complained about consumer product for the month, accounting for 5,382 complaints. Mortgages were the third most complained about financial product or service with 3,910 complaints.
Student loan complaints showed the greatest increase (64%) of any product or service in a year-to-year comparison examining the three-month time period of May to July. The bureau received 1,050 student loan complaints from May to July of this year, compared to 639 student loan complaints for the same three-month period in 2015, according to the release.
The CFPB also highlighted complaints from Ohio and the Columbus metro area in the report. Debt collection is the most commonly complained about product or service by consumers from Ohio, accounting for 30% of the complaints submitted to the bureau by consumers in the state, the release said.
The full report can be found at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/082016_cfpb_August_2016_Monthly_Complaint_Report.pdf.