Bank of America made headlines recently for fielding the most consumer complaints, based on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Consumer Complaint Database. A closer analysis, however, reveals that for everyday banking, Wells Fargo actually ranked worse – complaints about Wells Fargo banking products were 13% higher than those at Bank of America.
Wells Fargo received the most complaints for banking
Wells Fargo received nearly 20% of all complaints related to bank accounts or services, claiming the top spot for most complaints related to everyday banking.
|Bank||Complaints||% of Total|
|Bank of America||2,550||16%|
Checking accounts were by far the most problematic banking product at Wells Fargo (and in general at all banks), accounting for nearly 80% of banking complaints
|Bank account or service||Complaints||% of Total|
|Certificate of deposit||970||6%|
In regards to checking accounts, banks ran into the most trouble when it came to account opening, closing, or management. “Deposits and withdrawals” was the second most common issue cited in checking account complaints.
Most banking complaints are resolved with some sort of relief or explanation, but some company responses are subsequently disputed
The majority (83%) of banking complaints are closed with the company providing either a detailed explanation or relief (monetary and otherwise) to the customer. However, customers dispute about 1 in 5 company responses.
|Company Response||Complaints||% of Total Company Responses||% of Responses Disputed|
|Closed with explanation||7,538||49%||25%|
|Closed with monetary relief||3,325||21%||10%|
|Closed without relief||1,990||13%||26%|
|Closed with non-monetary relief||2,013||13%||15%|
What to do for consumers who are fed up with their banks?
The answer is to simply shop around for accounts and services that best fit individual banking needs. For customer service concerns, consumers should consider that local institutions like community banks and credit unions are more likely to provide individualized attention in the branch or over the phone.
It is also clear that big banks struggle to maintain checking accounts that meet customer needs. Local banks and credit unions are often better in this regard as well. Many offer a free checking account that requires no minimum balances to avoid a fee.
Source: CFPB Consumer Complaint Database
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