Who is the Ombudsman?
Margie Shanks, Deputy Secretary of the Board of Governors, currently serves as the Federal Reserve System's Ombudsman. She is assisted by Jean Whyte, the System's Associate Ombudsman.
When to contact us:
- Anytime you need assistance resolving an issue related to the Federal Reserve System's regulatory activities
- To discuss an issue confidentially
- If you have questions regarding Federal Reserve System regulatory processes or procedures
- If you believe that your institution has been subjected to retaliatory conduct by a member of Federal Reserve System staff
In 1995, the Board of Governors established the position of Ombudsman to facilitate the fair and timely resolution of complaints related to the Federal Reserve System's regulatory activities. The Ombudsman serves as an independent, confidential resource for individuals and institutions that are affected by the Federal Reserve System's regulatory and supervisory actions.
See the Board's policy statement concerning the Ombudsman function for more information.
How to contact us
The Ombudsman operates secure e-mail and dedicated telephone and fax lines.
Office of the Ombudsman
Federal Reserve Board
20th & C Streets, NW, Mail Stop 28
Washington, D.C. 20551
Role of the Ombudsman
What does the Ombudsman do?
- Facilitate the resolution of questions and complaints related to the Federal Reserve System's regulatory activities
- Ensure that complaints about Board or Reserve Bank actions are addressed in a fair and timely manner
- Receive, review, and decide complaints that a member of Federal Reserve System staff acted in a retaliatory manner against a supervised institution
- Advise institutions regarding formal processes for resolving disputes, including procedures for appealing material supervisory determinations
What does the Ombudsman not do?
- Make decisions, except with respect to allegations of retaliatory conduct
- Take sides; rather, the Ombudsman maintains a neutral position
- Address enforcement matters or matters involved in litigation
- Delay regulatory, legal, or other Federal Reserve actions or deadlines
- Serve as a formal office of legal notice for the Federal Reserve
- Handle complaints concerning internal Board functions, such as personnel or procurement
The Ombudsman operates independently of the Federal Reserve System's supervisory and regulatory processes.
The Ombudsman has established safeguards to protect confidentiality. Except in unusual circumstances, the Ombudsman will not disclose information or material provided by a complainant, including identity, unless expressly authorized by the complainant in order to assist in resolving an issue.
Fairness and Integrity
The Board of Governors has a strict anti-retaliation policy. The Ombudsman is responsible for receiving, reviewing, and deciding any complaints that a member of Federal Reserve System staff acted in a retaliatory manner against a supervised institution.
Consumer questions and complaints:
Independent of the Ombudsman function, the Federal Reserve System maintains a consumer help program to assist individuals who are experiencing issues with their financial institutions.
Institutions supervised by other regulators:
The Federal Reserve System regulates state member banks, bank holding companies, and some other types of financial institutions. The other financial regulatory agencies also have Ombudsman programs.
- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Regulates national banks
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Regulates state chartered banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System
- National Credit Union Administration
Regulates credit unions
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Administers federal consumer protection laws