What You Can Find on the BCFP Consumer Complaint Database

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BCFP SealLast week, Acting Director of the BCFP Mick Mulvaney told bankers that he had plans to make the agency’s consumer complaints database no longer visible to the public. In light of this, deBanked searched the agency’s complaint database. While there were numerous grievances that consumers reported because they could not fully resolve an issue with a financial service company on their own, we also found a host of questionable entries that leave much to be desired about the underlying issue and resolution sought.

Part of a complaint from last April against Bank of America reads as follows:

“The XXXX XXXX XXXX Police Beat you up XXXX Times and dont file Charges 5 times stays on youre record and you cant get Residency. All Countries murder the XXXX XXXX collect there benefits indefinitely After youre XXXX.”

Another complaint against Wells Fargo from December of last year reads:

“They are lower than pond scum and belong in prison. both XXXX XXXX executive resolution specialist and XXXX XXXX Sr. VP refuse to return my calls.”

And yet another complaint against U.S. Bancorp from July of last year asserts that a certain fraud department is:
“full of shit.”

Others are incomplete, like the following complaint against Experian from earlier this month:

“I’m an authorized user on this account but did not sign up for this on XXXX account.”

Taking the consumer complaints database out of public view could benefit lenders from complaints that have not been fully vetted. A consequence of it being public is that an independent party could paint a picture about a financial company’s behavior by simply tallying the raw number of complaints, regardless of whether those complaints are genuine.

Such a thing has been done. Several months ago, LendEDU published a ranking system of banks by the number of complaints they have received, placing Wells Fargo and Bank of America in the #1 and #2 spots respectively. Time Magazine picked up that story and presented it as “20 Banks That Consumers Loved to Hate in 2017” and ranked the number of complaints to the banks’ total deposits. Minnesota-based TCF Bank was crowned the worst.

Among some of the complaints that deBanked reviewed about TCF Bank did not even appear to be complaints at all. Interspersed with seemingly real grievances were some rather general questions or comments like how to view an account balance, how to access your account information through the mobile app, a purported compliment about the bank’s service that was nonetheless attributed to them as a complaint, and complaints about other companies that did not even mention TCF Bank but nonetheless counted as a complaint against them. All of these counted toward their complaint totals regardless of the content.

Last modified: May 1, 2018

Category: Regulation

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