November 19, 2007
Federal Reserve announces centralized resource for consumers experiencing problems with banks or other financial institutions
For immediate release
Help for consumers who experience a problem with a bank or other financial institution is just a click, or a phone call, away. Federal Reserve Consumer Help is a new centralized resource that consolidates and streamlines the Federal Reserve’s consumer complaint and inquiry program. Helpful customer service professionals are available to answer questions and assist with a wide range of issues relating to financial products and services and consumer protection laws.
“For more than 30 years, the Federal Reserve has put its expertise to work to answer consumers’ questions and help them resolve problems with financial institutions,” said Federal Reserve Board Governor Randall S. Kroszner. Over the years, the Federal Reserve has helped an estimated 150,000 consumers.
The Federal Reserve is responsible for ensuring that the financial institutions it supervises comply with consumer protection and fair lending laws, such as those governing checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and consumer loans including mortgages. It is also responsible for ensuring that consumers have a mechanism for identifying banking acts or practices that may require further investigation or possible regulatory action.
“To make it more convenient for consumers to contact us, we created a one-stop complaint and inquiry site where consumers know they can go to get help,” Governor Kroszner said.
Consumers calling the new toll-free number (888-851-1920) between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central Time will be able to speak directly to a customer service professional. After hours, callers may leave a message and Federal Reserve Consumer Help staff will return their calls the next business day.
The new website, www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov, was designed with easy, electronic access in mind--allowing consumers to submit a complaint or inquiry electronically. The website provides answers to commonly asked banking questions and links to many consumer protection materials and resources. Consumers will also find an updated version of the brochure "How to File a Consumer Complaint Against a Bank" on the website. This brochure explains, step-by-step, the Federal Reserve’s complaint process and tells consumers what to expect during a complaint investigation. Copies of the brochure are available by calling or writing to Federal Reserve Consumer Help.
Consumers can contact Federal Reserve Consumer Help through a variety of methods:
- Online: www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov
- E-mail: ConsumerHelp@FederalReserve.gov
- Toll-free: 888-851-1920 (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT)
- Toll-free TTY: 877-766-8533
- Toll-free fax: 877-888-2520
- Mail: Federal Reserve Consumer Help, P.O. Box 1200, Minneapolis, MN 55480
Consumers do not have to know which federal bank regulator (there are five) supervises the bank that they are concerned about in order to file a complaint or inquiry. Federal Reserve Consumer Help will direct consumers to the appropriate regulator and has made arrangements with several other banking regulators to transfer callers directly to another representative at the appropriate agency.
The Federal Reserve is committed to safeguarding consumer rights in financial services. Key to this commitment is hearing from the public about their concerns and the issues they are facing.