If you have a beef with your bank, it's a good bet that it's about checking accounts. The Ohio Public Interest Research Group released a report yesterday that documents complaints filed against banks and how they are handled. This is the first look at the numbers since the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created a database to track them in March 2012.
If you have a beef with your bank, it’s a good bet that it’s about checking accounts.
The Ohio Public Interest Research Group released a report yesterday that documents complaints filed against banks and how they are handled. This is the first look at the numbers since the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created a database to track them in March 2012.
Complaints against banks involving accounts or service make up 19,000 of the 126,000 complaints that are financial in nature, or about 15 percent of those the bureau received through July 14, according to the report.
Of the 19,000 complaints, 78 percent were about checking accounts, according to the report. Other complaints were about savings accounts, certificates of deposit and other financial products.
The complaints about checking accounts are often about opening or closing an account or the management of the accounts.
The biggest banks received the most complaints, with the largest 25 banks accounting for 90 percent of the complaints.
Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the banks that received the most complaints, are also the three largest based on deposits.
In Ohio, Pittsburgh-based PNC received the most complaints, 114, followed by 101 complaints against Huntington Bancshares and 83 involving Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank.
PNC is the fourth-largest bank based on deposits in Ohio, while Huntington is No. 2 and Fifth Third is first, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data as of June 30, 2012.
“PNC’s own measure of customer satisfaction is very high,” PNC spokeswoman Marcey Zwiebel said. “ We continue to work to improve our response to customer concerns.”
Ohio Bankers League spokesman James Thurston said the number of complaints in Ohio works out to about 4 per $1 billion in deposits.
“The total is very low,” he said.
He also noted that the number of complaints against banks per month has been trending lower over time.
The report shows that 62 percent of the complaints were resolved with an explanation to the customer by the bank. An additional 28 percent were resolved with some sort of monetary relief.
PIRG’s Stewart, though, thinks the report underestimates the number of complaints against banks, complaints that may be filed with other consumer agencies.
“This may be the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “The whole process is new.”
Ohio Bankers League Vice President Jeff Quayle said the report can be helpful to banks to see how they stack up against other banks.
“This does give the banks data to fine-tune their current processes and procedures,” he said.
Of the remainder of the 126,000 complaints the consumer bureau received, about half were about mortgages and 19 percent were about credit cards.
Brian Stewart, a program associate with the consumer group, said the report and the database can provide valuable help for consumers as they look for banking services and see which banks are the most responsive to customers.
“It can help prevent customers from falling prey to deceptive tricks,” he said.