Who Regulates Banks? Regulatory Agencies and What They Do

Agencies like the FRB, FDIC, CFPB, OCC and CSBS help protect consumers by regulating banks.
Chanelle Bessette
By Chanelle Bessette 
Edited by Sara Clarke

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The U.S. banking system relies on several government agencies to regulate its activities. Regulations might involve laws governing the bank, federal insurance, the supervision of bank activities, consumer protections and more.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., or FDIC: “The goal of regulation is to prevent and investigate fraud, keep markets efficient and transparent, and ensure customers and clients are treated fairly and honestly.” When you have a problem with your bank, there are several ways to file a complaint and learn about the banking system.

Bank regulators

The Federal Reserve Board. The Federal Reserve Board is part of the Federal Reserve, and it supervises the banks that are part of the Federal Reserve system. The Fed steps in to help prevent bank failures, such as in early 2023 when a few banks failed. After those bank failures, the Fed created the Bank Term Funding Program, which helps banks and credit unions by providing loans up to one year to help those businesses sustain themselves. The Federal Reserve Board also allows consumers to file complaints against financial institutions regarding customer service issues or illegal activity, and it gives answers to frequently asked questions.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The FDIC insures consumer deposits at chartered banks in case of a bank failure. Insurance typically covers up to $250,000 per depositor per account type, but joint accounts typically have up to $500,000 in coverage. Credit unions have equivalent insurance from the National Credit Union Administration.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB helps consumers submit complaints about different financial institutions and provides information about different consumer financial topics.

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The OCC charters, regulates and supervises all U.S. banks. The agency also runs the website HelpWithMyBank.gov, which provides information and assistance to banking consumers.

Conference of State Bank Supervisors. The CSBS assists state bank regulators with consumer protection, economic growth, and banking supervision and oversight. Through this oversight, the CSBS aims to keep banks in compliance with regulations and create a safer consumer banking experience.

What this means for consumers

Whether you’re looking to learn more about personal finance topics or submit a complaint about a bank, the regulators mentioned above provide different services you can use to learn and take action. Each regulator has a website that offers resources for consumer financial health.

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