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The Federal Reserve System

May 21, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

The Federal Reserve System is the arm of the government responsible for enforcing laws that protect consumers in their dealings with financial institutions. The Federal Reserve is where you can turn if you need to file a complaint against your bank or other financial institution.  The Federal Reserve Board of Governors works with the twelve Federal Reserve Banks around the country to ensure compliance by commercial banks with the Federal Reserve laws and regulations.

Consumers can turn to the Federal Reserve for assistance with:

  • Answering questions about banking practices

  • Investigating complaints about banks under Federal Reserve jurisdiction

Any complaints about financial institutions that are not supervised by the Federal Reserve System are referred to the appropriate federal agency.

How the Federal Reserve Handles Complaints

When consumers file complaints, the Federal Reserve refers the complaint to the regional Federal Reserve Bank that supervises the area.  Once your complaint is filed, your bank will be contacted by the consumer affairs staff of the Federal Reserve regional office.  Each issue mentioned in your letter is investigated and your bank is asked to provide any pertinent account information.  You will be contacted directly if any additional information is needed. 

After gathering all necessary information from you and your bank, the Federal Reserve will analyze your complaint and send a litter to you with the results.  If any, you will be informed of the violation against federal laws or regulations and the corrective action that the bank will be required to take.

Although the Federal Reserve can investigate all complaints filed against its banks, it does not have the authority to resolve all types of problems.  Issues involving bank policy rather than federal law are not investigated.  Examples include contractual disputes, undocumented factual disputes between you and the bank, or disagreements about banking policies/procedures.

Even if the Federal Reserve is unable to address your issue, the bank may choose to voluntarily work with you to resolve the issues.  However, if the bank does not resolve your issue the Federal Reserve can advise you whether legal action can and should be taken in regards to your complaint.

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