CFPB seeks input on customer service issues at large banks, credit unions

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a request for information on customer service at large banks and credit unions as part of a broader effort to improve relationship banking.

CFPB Director Rohit Chopra on Tuesday asked for public input to determine if customers are able to get prompt responses from the 175 banks and credit unions with more than $10 billion in assets.

Some large banks and credit unions may not be offering a high level of customer service that consumers expect when they encounter problems, Chopra said. 

“Customers of large banks should not have to run through an obstacle course to get a straight answer about their account,” Chopra said at a town hall meeting in Great Falls, Montana, where he gave a speech about rural banking deserts. 

The Dodd-Frank Act gives consumers the right to obtain timely responses to requests for information about their accounts from large depository institutions. The RFI seeks data about any obstacles to “high-quality human interactions” with banks or credit unions.

Last year, the CFPB received 37,400 complaints about checking or savings accounts. Some consumers complained that it takes too long to get information from their bank, it can be difficult to find information they need online and employees aren’t always knowledgeable about their situation.

The CFPB wants to know how long a customer typically waits on hold to reach a bank’s customer service, how often calls are dropped or disconnected and if automated systems are helpful.  

The bureau also wants to know how customer service representatives are evaluated and compensated by banks and how compensation structures and incentives impact the service provided.

Consumers have 30 days to comment after the CFPB’s request is published in the Federal Register. 

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