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CFPB expands complaints department

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced this week that the agency can now handle complaints about checking and savings accounts.

“Deposit accounts play a critical role in the lives of most Americans, but these products and the laws governing them are complicated,” Richard Cordray, the director of the CFPB, said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Consumers need someone on their side to keep banks and credit unions accountable – that is our job at the consumer bureau.”

Established by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB became operational last July and began by taking complaints regarding credit cards. The bureau began handling mortgage complaints in December.

From July to Feb. 22, the agency reported that it received more than 22,000 complaints, mostly regarding credit cards, the Los Angeles Times reports. Now, the agency expects to hear complaints related to account openings and closings, balances, and the use of debit cards.

Consumers can file a complaint online, by phone, mail or fax. The CFPB call centers, the bureau said, have little to no wait time and can record complaints in 187 languages, as well as from individuals with speech or hearing impairment.

The CFPB said that it works to resolve complaints between consumers and financial institutions. Banks are expected to respond to a complaint within 15 days and resolve it within 60 days, the Los Angeles Times reports. A consumer filing a complaint is giving a case number to check the status of the complaint.

The agency has already been active in investigating consumer complaints, launching a full-fledged investigation last month into the overdraft fees charged by banks. The CFPB is also seeking public comment on a proposed disclosure box regarding monthly fees.

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