The consumer finance protection bureau (CFPB) was started in 2011 by Senator Elizabeth Warren, as a government agency to monitor and act on consumer complaints and set regulation for some of America’s largest companies. The CFPB allows consumers to register complaints, and keeps a database of complaints concerning companies that consumers report to them. A recent Mother Jones article counted the number of complaints lodged against banks, calling the list America’s “most hated” (although it should be probably be called “most complained about”) banks, lenders and financial institutions.
As you might expect, in light of the foreclosure crisis, the most hated banks are also those with the largest volume, and thus the largest number of foreclosures. In order, the top ten banks receiving complaints with the CFPB between 2012-2014 were:
|Bank of America||38,833|
Not coincidentally, many of the top complained about banks entered into a multi-billion dollar settlement involving fraudulent foreclosure practices in 2012, including filing fraudulent documents in foreclosure cases and misleading mortgage modification practices. The settlements can be found here. And some of the top banks are hampered by their previous acquisitions of troubled banks or lenders—Bank of America for example acquired Countrywide Home Loans, thus inheriting all of their troubled or defective loans. Wells Fargo took over Wachovia, which sold many subprime and “pick a pay” loans to unsuspecting consumers.
Complaints related to mortgage servicing, which numbered 27,000, far eclipsed the 5,000 complaints registered against debt collection companies and the 5,500 complaints related to student loan collections.
Not all the complaints logged with the CFPB stem from foreclosures, however. Over three thousand complaints were logged against Chase over disputed account problems, which can include overdraft charges or other hidden fees. And the list is only the top ten most complained about banks. Many arms of the financial industry ranked higher than banks in the complaint department. Equifax has over 10,000 complaints logged, and Transunion had over 8,000 complaints. Both are credit reporting agencies.
Residents of Illinois had 9,202 complaints in total, as of the last check of the database. A complete list of all complaints is public and searchable, and can be seen here.
The list is also important because the CFPB has the power to fine institutions for unfair business practices, such as when it fined JP Morgan for overdraft charge policies. Thus, many institutions would rather not see themselves in the database, and reporting those companies who are engaging in unfair practices can be a powerful tool for consumers.
Having trouble with a bank that’s foreclosing on you? Think a mortgage company is treating you unfairly? Contact The Slater Firm LTD to discuss your rights and the options that may be available to you.