Big-Bank Consumer Service

Combining some of its outstanding initiatives and adding new ones, the CFPB is seeking information on how well larger banks and credit unions serve consumers and what steps may be needed to make them do better.  The focus of the inquiry is response time, content, and methodology following consumer inquiries based on provisions in the agency’s mandate allowing it to require that banks with assets over $10 billion and their affiliates provide timely responses to consumer requests for information about their accounts.  This was included in the Dodd-Frank Act because of many instances in which borrowers had so much difficulty finding out about their mortgages that foreclosure loomed or even occurred.  The Bureau is now inferring a broader rationale for these requirements:  the need to preserve relationship banking via the “human touch” rapid responses ensure so that high-quality banking services are readily available in all markets, including those characterized as “banking deserts.”