The CFPB’s online complaint database should be extended to include all the nation’s credit unions and banks, regardless of size, a new report says.
Federal regulators also should further investigate CFPB complaint data for possible violations of consumer protection and anti-discrimination laws, because there were differences found in reporting levels between predominantly minority and non-minority communities, according to the report released Tuesday by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
“The CFPB, the FDIC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board and the NCUA should develop a joint database covering all banks and credit unions so that the public has a more comprehensive view of the number of complaints issued from customers of large and small institutions,” said the NCRC analysis of bank account complaints by ZIP code.
Only financial institutions with assets of $10 billion or more – including four credit unions of that size – are currently included in the complaint database since they are directly supervised by the CFPB.
As Credit Union Times has previously reported, the CFPB refers the complaints it receives against banks and credit unions with less than $10 billion in assets to their own regulators.
“The CFPB database should also have more detail about the nature of the complaint, and include a short narrative description of the complaint, so that the public knows more about whether the issue concerned price, quality of service, or other issues,” the NCRC analysis said.
The NCRC’s findings were based on complaint data made public by the CFPB this spring.
“This analysis reveals that predominantly minority communities are more likely to submit complaints about poor service related to bank accounts than predominantly white communities,” the NCRC found.
“At the same time, upper income communities are more likely to submit complaints than lower-income communities,” said the review.
The NCRC also found that minority communities are more likely to file complaints about bank accounts regardless of their income level.
“The disproportionately high rate of complaints to the CFPB from predominately minority communities may be suggestive of fair lending concerns. We urge federal regulators to examine the complaint database closely for possible patterns of discrimination,” said NCRC President/CEO John Taylor.
“The good news is that residents in minority communities are more likely to also receive monetary relief as compensation for their complaints,” said the analysis.
“However, the CFPB database does not indicate whether this resolution was satisfactory to the consumer or whether the consumer continued a relationship with the bank. In addition, minority communities are also more likely than predominantly white communities to have their complaints unaddressed by banks.”