Most common consumer complaint: big banks’ checking accounts

Credit unions have another round to add to the stockpile of reasons credit unions are a better value for consumers than banks are.  Banks–especially big ones–have generated the most consumer complaints since March 2012, says a recent Public Interest Research Group in Michigan Education Fund (PIRGIM) study.

The non-profit group based in Lansing, Mich., analyzed 19,000 consumer complaints made to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s public Consumer Complaints Database. The report highlights banks that generated the most complaints through their various banking services in each state.  Checking account services bore the brunt of the complaints, said PIRGIM.

Some key findings:

  • The top 25 U.S. banks were targets of 90% of the complaints. Credit unions could make a case that this is a signal of consumers’ frustration with their banks’ policies, although the study concluded the numbers are so high because these banks have most of the customers.
  • Banks with the most complaints overall included the three largest banks in terms of dollars deposited: Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase. Wells Fargo chalked up 3,453 complaints, while BofA had 3,135, and JPMorgan Chase has 2,032 complaints. PNC Bank and U.S. Bancorp were targets of 880 and 776 complaints, respectively.
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