11 Banks With the Most Consumer Complaints

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Since its creation in 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has returned nearly $12.5 billion to more than 31 million U.S. consumers. When former South Carolina Congressman Mick Mulvaney became acting head of the agency in November 2017, he said that the CFPB would no longer be taking enforcement actions.

He wasn’t kidding. The CFPB initiated just 10 enforcement actions in 2018 compared to 55 in 2015, 42 in 2016 and 35 in 2017. Among the agency’s primary targets were financial institutions.

Between January 1 and December 19 of 2018, consumers filed 244,114 complaints with the CFPB that were related to financial products. Financial product marketplace LendEDU scoured the CFPB’s complaint database and identified 42,946 complaints against 73 banking institutions included in the S&P Banks Select Industry Index to determine which institutions received the most (and the fewest) complaints.

Researchers compiled two lists of complaints against the banks. The first included all complaints in nine categories such as checking/savings accounts, credit/prepaid cards and mortgages (244,114). The second included only complaints about checking and savings accounts (42,496).

Then they computed the number of total complaints and banking-only complaints filed per $1 billion in bank deposits. The bank with the most complaints in both categories was among the smallest included in the S&P index.

Only 10 of the 73 banks had no complaints. These were Silicon Valley Bank, Wintrust Financial, Whitney Bank, Columbia and Columbia State Banks, Florida Community Bank, CenterState Bank, Ameris Bank, Citizens Business Bank, Banner Bank, and First Merchants and Commerce National Banks.

We’ve listed the 11 banks that received the most complaints in order of the total number of complaints per $1 billion in deposits. We’ve added the bank’s total deposits, banking-only complaints per $1 billion and the year-over-year change in a bank’s ranking. Total complaint numbers are also included.

Only one of the banks on this list has not been involved in an enforcement action from the CFPB. We have included one enforcement action taken against the other nine banks. Payments of restitution and fines range between $3.5 million and $1.0 billion. In fact, adding up just the payments we’ve included, banks have paid about a quarter of all penalties levied by the CFPB since 2012.

Source: Courtesy of TCF Financial Corporation

1. TCF National Bank
> Total Deposits: $18.5 billion
> Total Complaints per Billion Dollars in Deposits: 11.24 (208 total)
> Banking-Only Complaints per Billion Dollars in Deposits: 6.70 (124 total)
> Year-Over-Year Change in Total Complaint Ranking: unchanged

In July of 2018, TCF Financial Corp. (NYSE: TCF) agreed to pay $30 million to resolve a CFPB lawsuit alleging that the bank misled consumers about its overdraft services. Of the total, $25 million was paid to consumers and the other $5 million was a penalty paid to the CFPB and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Source: RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images

2. Citizens Bank
> Total Deposits: $117.08 billion
> Total Complaints per Billion Dollars in Deposits: 7.35 (860 total)
> Banking-Only Complaints per Billion Dollars in Deposits: 3.76 (440 total)
> Year-Over-Year Change in Total Complaint Ranking: up four places

In 2015, Citizens Financial Group Inc. (NYSE: CFG) was ordered to pay $18.5 million in fines and restitution for failing to credit deposits fully to Ohio customers. Of the total, $11 million was paid to customers and $7.5 million was paid to the CFPB.

Source: RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images

3. Fifth Third Bank
> Total Deposits: $104.34 billion
> Total Complaints per Billion Dollars in Deposits: 7.33 (765 total)
> Banking-Only Complaints per Billion Dollars in Deposits: 3.09 (322 total)
> Year-Over-Year Change in Total Complaint Ranking: up five places

The CFPB in 2015 ordered Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ: FITB) to pay $18 million to minority auto loan customers and $3 million to credit card customers. As part of the consent order, the bank paid $500,000 in a penalty.

Source: Joel Carillet / Getty Images

4. SunTrust Banks
> Total Deposits: $160.38 billion
> Total Complaints per Billion Dollars in Deposits: 6.90 (1,107 total)
> Banking-Only Complaints per Billion Dollars in Deposits: 3.51 (563 total)
> Year-Over-Year Change in Total Complaint Ranking: up one place

SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE: STI) was ordered to pay $500 million in loss-mitigation to underwater mortgage borrowers. The bank also paid $40 million to consumers who lost their homes to foreclosure and $10 million in federal fines.

Source: RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images

5. Comerica
> Total Deposits: $56.01 billion
> Total Complaints per Billion Dollars in Deposits: 6.86 (384 total)
> Banking-Only Complaints per Billion Dollars in Deposits: 2.62 (147 total)
> Year-Over-Year Change in Total Complaint Ranking: up one place

In August, a business publication reported that a partnership between the bank and the federal government sent funds to criminals impersonating real account holders by using cardholder data. The affected program, called Direct Express, was a prepaid debit card offered to people without bank accounts to gain electronic access to Social Security payments and veterans benefits, among others. CFPB has no record of enforcement action against Comerica Inc. (NYSE: CMA).