The 10 Financial Companies Americans Complain About the Most

complaint form

Source: iStock

Have a problem with your bank, credit card company, or mortgage servicer? You’re not alone. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) received more than 24,000 complaints from consumers about financial services companies in October 2015. Since the agency started gathering this information in 2011, it’s handled nearly 750,000 different complaints about everything from debt collection to prepaid cards to payday loans.

The complaint data released by the CFPB provides a snapshot of the everyday problems that Americans have with financial companies. In narratives published on the CFPB website, consumers describe threatening and abusive phone calls from collection agencies, credit reports that contain incorrect information, problems closing bank accounts, and other concerns.

Debt collectors garnered the most complaints, accounting for 28% of submissions received by the CFPB in October. The debt collection industry has come under increased scrutiny recently for illegal and deceptive practices by some companies. Consumers also seem to be having more trouble with prepaid cards. These alternative banking products are growing in popularity, and complaints about them were up 193% from last year.

Credit reporting agencies and mortgage servicers also didn’t get a lot of love from consumers. In fact, when the CFPB put together a list of the most complained about companies from June through August 2015, the three major credit reporting agencies came out on top. TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian were each the subject of roughly 1,000 complaints per month.

credit report

Source: iStock

Other major companies that consumers had big problems with included Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase. Here are the top 10 companies that people complained the most about to the CFPB.

  1. Equifax
    • Average number of monthly complaints: 1,110
    • Percent change over same period in 2014: 23%
    • Product people complained most about: Credit reporting
  2. TransUnion
    • Average number of monthly complaints: 1,066
    • Percent change over same period in 2014: 46%
    • Product people complained most about: Credit reporting
  3. Experian
    • Average number of monthly complaints: 995
    • Percent change over same period in 2014: 10%
    • Product people complained most about: Credit reporting
  4. Bank of America
    • Average number of monthly complaints: 928
    • Percent change over same period in 2014: 7%
    • Product people complained most about: Mortgages
  5. Wells Fargo
    • Average number of monthly complaints: 906
    • Percent change over same period in 2014: 16%
    • Product people complained most about: Mortgages
  6. JPMorgan Chase
    • Average number of monthly complaints: 769
    • Percent change over same period in 2014: 20%
    • Product people complained most about: Mortgages
  7. Citibank
    • Average number of monthly complaints: 535
    • Percent change over same period in 2014: 14%
    • Product people complained most about: Credit cards
  8. Ocwen
    • Average number of monthly complaints: 428
    • Percent change over same period in 2014: -16%
    • Product people complained most about: Mortgages
  9. Nationstar Mortgage
    • Average number of monthly complaints: 356
    • Percent change over same period in 2014: 11%
    • Product people complained most about: Mortgages
  10. Capital One
    • Average number of monthly complaints: 337
    • Percent change over same period in 2014: 20%
    • Product people complained most about: Credit cards

Richard Cordray, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Facebook

So, what does the CFPB do with all that information it gathers about badly behaving financial firms? As an individual, submitting a complaint to the CFPB may help you address a problem with your bank or lender, especially if other attempts to resolve the issue have gone nowhere.

“I spent more than three years trying to fix my credit problem until I contacted the CFPB, who in 30 days gave me an answer and started helping me,” one person said in a video posted to the CFPB website.

However, the real value in the complaint database may be that it provides a big-picture look at the way financial companies treat consumers. If hundreds of people submit similar complaints about the same company, that may be a sign that some action, like better enforcement of existing laws or new regulations to protect consumers, is needed to address a systemic problem.

“Every complaint provides insight into problems that people are experiencing, helping us identify inappropriate practices and allowing us to stop them before they become major issues,” the CFPB explains on its website.

Follow Megan on Facebook and Twitter

More from Money & Career Cheat Sheet:

More Articles About:   ,