Various consumer protection, fair lending, fair housing, and community reinvestment laws apply to financial institution interactions with customers and communities. A primary Federal Reserve responsibility  is to ensure that the financial institutions under its jurisdiction comply with applicable laws and regulations established by Congress and the federal regulatory agencies.

The Federal Reserve supervises state member banks  for compliance with consumer- and community-oriented laws.  The Federal Reserve evaluates:

  • performance under the Community Reinvestment Act  of all state member banks, regardless of size;
  • compliance by all state member banks and their affiliates with the Fair Housing Act, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, the National Flood Insurance Act, prohibitions on unfair or deceptive acts or practices (UDAP) under the Federal Trade Commission Act, and certain other federal consumer financial protection laws not specifically under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s authority; and
  • compliance by state member banks with total assets of $10 billion or less with all federal consumer financial protection laws and regulations.

In addition, the Federal Reserve serves as the consolidated supervisor for all bank holding companies and ensures that consumer compliance risk is appropriately incorporated into a holding company’s consolidated supervision rating.

In addition to on-site examiner reviews of financial institutions, Federal Reserve staff identify and investigate possible violations of consumer protection laws through the Federal Reserve System’s consumer complaint and consumer inquiry programs. Through these programs, staff answer consumers’ questions, explain consumer rights under federal law, investigate complaints against entities supervised by the Federal Reserve, and refer complaints about other entities to the appropriate agency. Consumer complaints are a critical component of the risk-focused supervisory program. The Federal Reserve uses data on consumer complaint activity in its supervisory processes when monitoring financial institutions, scoping  and conducting examinations, and analyzing applications.

You may file a complaint  if you think a bank has been unfair or misleading, discriminated against them in lending, or violated a federal consumer protection law or regulation. Federal Reserve Consumer Help will connect consumers with--or forward their complaints to--the appropriate federal regulator for the bank or institution. If the complaint is against a financial institution that the Federal Reserve supervises, it will be investigated by one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks.

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Last Update: March 10, 2017