Technology has made filing a complaint easy. The Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) invites consumers to share
their experiences and provides a website with step by step instructions to file complaints. A comprehensive consumer complaint
management program is critical for banks not only to meet their
strategic business objectives, but to manage their regulatory risk.
Of course every bank works hard to attract and keep its customers.
While banks strive always to do things right, sometimes things do
not go as planned and a customer complains. First and foremost,
it is imperative that the complaint handling process ensures the
customer is provided a swift response that is clear, factual, and
hopefully addresses the complaint in a way that is acceptable to the
customer. Second, complaints provide valuable feedback to help
understand when a bank’s products, services, or employee actions
result in a poor customer experience and perhaps inadvertently run
afoul of consumer protection laws. Third, the complaint manage-
ment program becomes even more critical to banks as the Bureau
has proposed elimination of pre-dispute arbitration provisions
in contracts involving consumer financial products or services,
potentially opening the door to more class action litigation.
The prudential regulatory agencies have always had channels
for consumers to file complaints. However, collecting, analyzing,
and utilizing consumer complaints is a principal focus for the
Bureau in its consumer protection role and in carrying out its