If You Have a Problem With a National Bank
What Is a National Bank?
A national bank is a financial institution chartered by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. National banks can usually be identified because they have the words "national" or "national association" in their titles or the letters N.A. or NT&SA following their titles. National banks represent about 28 percent of all insured commercial banks in the United States, holding 57 percent of the total assets of the banking system.
When you have a complaint. . .
Mixed-up deposits, no-show bill payments, or double debits — mistakes like this don't happen every day. But when they do occur, complain as soon as possible. The law may limit the window of opportunity of filing complaints.
If you have a complaint, start by calling a customer service representative or visiting your bank. Ask for the person's name and write it down. During the conversation, offer a solution and ask the representative to correct the problem by a certain date. Don't lose your temper. Raising your voice or making threats will not gain the cooperation of the bank employees.
Summarize your discussion with the representative in a letter and send it to the bank. Attach documentation of your complaint. (Make copies for the bank - do not give away your originals.) The letter may help prove you took timely action.
If you are not satisfied with the bank's response, you can complain to the bank's regulator. State-chartered banks are regulated by state banking authorities. To find your state agency, look in the government section of your white pages directory.
It is best to try to resolve a complaint directly with your bank before involving an outside agency. If you are unable to do so or are uncertain about your complaint jurisdiction, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) can help you.
General inquiries about banking laws or practices often can be answered on the phone by a customer assistance specialist. The specialist may also be able to suggest other ways for you to try to resolve your problem directly with the bank.
When resolution seems impossible, you may file a formal complaint with the OCC.
Who is the OCC?
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is an agency of the United States Department of the Treasury. The OCC charters, regulates, and supervises over 2,500 national banks to ensure a safe, sound and competitive national banking system that supports the citizens, communities and economy of the United States. The Comptroller's Office also supervises federally licensed branches and agencies of foreign banks. The national banks fund the agency through assessments paid by the banks based on their assets and fees they pay for special services.
Filing a Formal Complaint
You may file a formal complaint about a national bank with the OCC by writing and sending (or faxing) a letter — no special forms are required — to the Customer Assistance Group at the address given below.
Your fax or letter should identify the national bank about which you have the complaint by providing the bank's full name and address. Explain the nature of your problem and tell the OCC what resolution you are seeking. Do not forget to give them YOUR name, address, and a telephone number where you can be reached during the day, as well.
The OCC Customer Assistance Group
The OCC Customer Assistance Group was created to answer questions, offer guidance, and assist consumers in resolving complaints about national banks.
Contacting a Customer Assistance Specialist
You can reach one of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's customer assistance specialists by:
- Telephoning 1-800-613-6743, toll-free
- E-mailing - E-mail to http://www.occ.treas.gov/mail1.htm;
- Fax - Faxing to - 1-713-336-4301 or;
- Sending mail to -
Customer Assistance Group
1301 McKinney Street
Houston, TX 77010
When You Contact the OCC
When the OCC receives your call about a complaint, a customer assistance specialist will request certain information from you about your complaint. He or she will evaluate your information and attempt to resolve your problem while on the phone. Should the specialist not be able to resolve your complaint immediately, he or she may request that you send additional information to assist in their research. The specialist will assign you a case number and tell you exactly what they require you to provide, so that your case research can continue.
When the OCC receives your written complaint or additional documentation that was requested by one of their customer assistance specialists, they will send you an acknowledgment and assign your case to a customer assistance specialist. The specialist will research your complaint and contact the bank for an explanation of what happened. The specialist may request that you provide additional documentation and will identify exactly what it is that they might require. The OCC will notify you after the bank responds. Complaints caused by bank error or misunderstanding are often resolved voluntarily by the bank.
When You Need Other Help
Many complaints stem from factual or contract disputes between the bank and the customer. Only a court of law can resolve those disputes and award damages. If the OCC find that your case involves such a dispute, They will suggest that you consult an attorney for assistance.
The OCC regulates only NATIONAL BANKS, not all types of financial institutions. If your complaint involves a bank or other institution not regulated by the OCC, they may refer it to another agency. The OCC will notify you if they do so. You should not have to resubmit your complaint or accompanying documentation. However, you may be contacted if the other agency needs additional information.
Other Consumer Help Agencies
Consumer Help Is Available From These Agencies:
|Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (Regulates national banks)|
Customer Assistance Group
1301 McKinney Street
Houston, TX 77010
|The Office of Thrift Supervision (Regulates federal savings and loans (S&Ls) and federally chartered savings banks (F.S.B.s))|
Office of Consumer Programs
1700 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20552
|The Federal Reserve Board (Regulates state banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System)|
Division of Consumer and Community Affairs
Federal Reserve Board
Washington, DC 20551
|The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (Regulates Federally insured state banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System)|
Division of Compliance and Consumer Affairs
550 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20429
|The National Credit Union Administration (Regulates federal credit unions)|
1775 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-3428
|Federal Trade Commission (Regulates other lenders)|
Consumer Response Center
6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20580
|Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (Enforces Fair Housing Act)|
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
451 Seventh Street, S.W., Room 5100
Washington, DC 20410
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
If you don't think your bank falls into any of the above categories, contact the FDIC at 800-934-3342, which co-regulates any bank that is covered by FDIC insurance.
The FDIC was established by Congress in 1933 to insure deposits and to help maintain sound conditions in our banking system. An independent agency of the federal government, the FDIC insures deposits in banks and savings associations for up to $100,000. The FDIC examines and supervises state-chartered banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System (also known as “state non-member” banks). The FDIC also promotes public confidence in the banking system. Federal Deposit Insurance Act
The FDIC enforces compliance by state nonmember banks with consumer protection, fair lending, and civil rights laws. The Corporation also assesses compliance through on-site examinations, community outreach, investigation of complaints and inquiries, and other efforts.
FDIC’s Consumer Affairs Specialists are responsible for keeping abreast of changes to existing consumer protection rules and regulations to ensure that your concerns are addressed quickly and accurately
How Can The FDIC Help With Your Banking Questions?
Consumer Affairs Specialists can provide you with important information concerning your consumer rights.
- If your financial institution is supervised by the FDIC, their Specialists can work with you and your bank to help answer your questions.
- If your financial institution is not supervised by the FDIC, their Specialists can put you in touch with the federal agency that can assist you.
- FDIC staff is also available to answer your questions about deposit insurance, and provide information on a wealth of other consumer-related matters.
For guidance concerning your banking questions.
Federal Consumer Protection Laws
Certain federal consumer protection laws require lenders to:
- Equal Credit Opportunity Act — Not discriminate against consumers, based on certain prohibited bases, when consumers apply for credit.
- Fair Housing Act — Not discriminate against consumers, based on certain prohibited bases, regarding residential real estate related transactions.
- Truth In Lending Act — Tell consumers how much it will cost to borrow funds, to allow consumers to compare costs required by other lenders.
- Fair Credit Billing Act — Quickly correct mistakes on a consumer’s credit card bill.
Other consumer protection laws enforced by the FDIC include:
- Fair Credit Reporting Act — A law that addresses how credit histories are used, maintained,
- Electronic Fund Transfer Act — A law that limits consumer liability if ATM cards are stolen or lost.
- Truth in Savings Act — A law that requires a financial institution to disclose the terms of consumer deposit accounts in a uniform manner.
How to File a Written Complaint
- State the problem briefly in a letter. Tell us what occurred and how you would like to see the matter resolved. I nclude your full name, address, and daytime and evening telephone numbers with area codes.
- Include your full name, address, and daytime and evening telephone numbers with area codes.
- Provide the complete name and address of the financial institution, along with names of employees who have assisted you with your problem.
- Include pertinent account information such as account numbers and the type of product you have (e.g., checking account, savings account, home equity loan, or residential real estate loan).
- Include important dates, such as the date a transaction took place or the date you contacted the financial institution about your problem.
- Include information concerning account ownership and account balances if you have a question about deposit insurance.
- Send copies of documents that may help explain your problem. Keep original documents.
- Sign and date your letter.
Your letter will be assigned to an FDIC Consumer Affairs Specialist for investigation or response.
In some instances, the Specialist will respond to you directly if there is no need to contact your financial institution. You should receive a final response in approximately 15 days. In other instances, the Specialist will need to contact your financial institution to obtain information, clarify issues, or gather facts.
Afterwards, the Specialist will respond to you directly. In cases such as these, a final response may take up to 60 days. The FDIC does not have the authority to solve complaints involving factual or contractual matters; nor does the FDIC intervene in matters of past, present, or future litigation. We suggest you contact an attorney to have these matters reviewed.
Mail your letter to the appropriate FDIC Division of Compliance and Consumer Affairs regional office if your complaint involves a state nonmember bank that is not a member of the Federal Reserve System:
|AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, VA, WV
One Atlantic Center
1201 W. Peachtree Street, NE
Atlanta, GA 30309-3415
CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT
IL, IN, MI, OH, WI
CO, NM, OK, TX
IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD
|AR, KY, LA, MS, TN
DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA, PR,
AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR,
You may also contact FDIC's Headquarters Office at the following address:
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Division of Compliance and Consumer Affairs
Bank Complaints brochure.