Banks and the Federal Reserve

If you have a complaint about a bank or other financial institution, the Federal Reserve System might be able to help you. The Federal Reserve is responsible for carrying out many of the federal laws that protect consumers in their dealings with financial institutions. The Board of Governors, located in Washington, D.C., works with the twelve Federal Reserve Banks around the country to make certain the commercial banks that the Federal Reserve supervises abide by these laws. We can help individual consumers by:

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  • Answering questions about banking practices, and
  • Investigating complaints about specific banks under our supervisory jurisdiction.
  • Complaints about financial institutions that are not supervised by the Federal Reserve System are referred to the appropriate federal agency.

What Will the Federal Reserve Do?
Consumer complaints filed against state member banks are investigated by the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks listed below. Once we receive your complaint, it will be reviewed by our consumer affairs staff who will contact the bank about your concern. The Reserve Bank will investigate each issue raised in your letter and ask the bank involved for information and records in response to your complaint. If additional information is needed, we will contact you by telephone or in writing. The Reserve Bank will analyze the bank's response to your complaint to ensure that your concerns have been addressed and will send a letter to you about our findings. If the investigation reveals that a federal law or regulation has been violated, we will inform you of the violation and the corrective action the bank has been directed to take.

Although the Federal Reserve investigates all complaints involving the banks it regulates, it does not have the authority to resolve all types of problems. For example, we are unable to resolve contractual disputes, undocumented factual disputes between a customer and a bank, or disagreements about bank policies and procedures. These matters are usually determined by bank policy and are not addressed by federal law or regulation.

In many instances, however, by filing a complaint a bank may voluntarily work with you to resolve your situation. If, however, the matter is not resolved, we will advise you whether a violation of law has occurred or whether you should consider legal counsel to resolve your complaint.

Courtesy of the Federal Reserve Board. Source: