Here Are How Many Complaints Your Bank Has Received Since 2011
The biggest banks in the U.S. took a PR beating as a result of their roles in the subprime mortgage debacle. If we take a step back from all the hubhub, though, how do some of the major banks fare in the eyes of their customers when it comes to everyday product offerings?
Here at FindTheBest, we're working to collect, structure and connect the world's data. Using our Banks topic, we gathered institutional data from the FDIC and ATM and branch information from RateWatch. We then visualized complaint data from 2011 to December 2014 courtesy of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to understand what customers at some of the country's largest banks (over $200 billion in total deposits) are complaining about.
Of the five banks that meet that threshold, we'll move toward the bank with the most complaints. Keep in mind that banks with the largest number of complaints are not necessarily the ones with the worst customer service—the more customers a bank has, the more complaints it is likely to receive.
Total Deposits (as of June 30, 2014): $227 billion
Branch Density (present in 21 states): 141 branches/state
ATM Density: 185 ATMs/state*
Total Complaints Since 2011: 4,772 complaints
More PNC customers have filed complaints related to a mortgage product than any other bank offering (52 percent of complaints, rounded to the nearest whole number). Nipping on the heels are account complaints (37 percent). As measured by the amount of deposits ($227 billion), PNC has a smaller number of customers than most national banks (it's certainly the smallest by total deposits among its competitors here). You can tap into any of the visuals to isolate certain complaint types or to learn even more about a given institution.
* The total number of ATMs is divided by the same number of states in which a bank has a branch presence. ATMs may be available outside of these states.
Total Deposits: $977 billion
Branch Density (present in 17 states): 56 branches/state
ATM Density: 188 ATMs/state
Total Complaints Since 2011: 16,984 complaints
Founded in 1812 and headquartered in New York, Citi has roughly $977 billion in total deposits, making it decidedly larger than PNC (330 percent bigger by deposits) but still slightly under other deposit levels at other financial institutions further on.
Citigroup historically has wielded a fair amount of influence, however, both in banking and in Washington. Former CEO Sanford Weill, after all, worked tirelessly—and successfully—toward the demise of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1998. Until that time, the act had bifurcated the banking system: commercial banking on one side and investment banking endeavors on the other. There was also the small matter of it having to be bailed out by U.S. taxpayers during the 2008 financial crisis, but we digress.
Interestingly, plastic seems to be the issue here, with 47 percent of total complaints stemming from a credit card related product. Complaints concerning mortgages constituted 34 percent of the complaints. Another interesting trend: more than half of Citi customers with a complaint submitted that complaint via email or online to the CFPB. Just 44 percent of PNC customers did the same. With both institutions, complaints had a timely response 98 percent of the time.
Total Deposits: $1.37 trillion
Branch Density (present in 26 states): 220 branches/state
ATM Density: 576 ATMs/state
Total Complaints Since 2011: 22,918 complaints
Chase, the consumer and commercial banking arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co., dates back to 1824. The largest U.S. bank by total deposits ($1.37 trillion), it is headquartered in Chicago, IL. Its 5,720 branches located in 26 states translates into a stout offering of 220 branches per state—by far the biggest footprint of any bank presented here. Given the sheer magnitude of its total deposits, Chase likely has a considerable customer base, which is reflected in its nearly 23,000 complaints between 2011 and December 2014.
Of these complaints, 51 percent were about mortgage-related offerings, with credit cards (22.5 percent) and account-related issues (19 percent) rounding out the bulk of complaints. Even though nearly one in two Chase customers with a complaint submitted their grievance online, 40 percent still opted to send in a notice via postal mail or referral, second only to PNC customers. Submitted complaints experienced a timely response 100 percent of the time. Three cheers for timeliness.
Total Deposits: $1.14 trillion
Branch Density (present in 41 states): 154 branches/state
ATM Density: 292 ATMs/state
Total Complaints Since 2011: 29,348 complaints
Wells Fargo goes back to 1852 and is headquartered in Sioux Falls, SD. With $1.14 trillion in total deposits, it's the second-largest bank in the U.S. by that metric. Far and away, mortgage-related products cause the most grief for Wells Fargo customers, with nearly two in three complaints originating from that product offering. General account complaints (23.5 percent) and a smattering of others constitute the remaining complaints for Wells Fargo between 2011 and December 2014.
In terms of connectivity, nearly half of complaints were filed online, and 99 percent of all grievances received a timely response.
Bank of America
Total Deposits: $1.13 trillion
Branch Density (present in 36 states): 142 branches/state
ATM Density: 450 ATMs/state
Total Complaints Since 2011: 42,740 complaints
Founded in 1904, Bank of America is headquartered in Charlotte, NC. With $1.13 trillion in total deposits, it's the third-largest bank in the U.S. Though it's not in as many states as Wells Fargo, its density of ATMs (450 per state) is second only to the number made available by Chase.
When it comes to complaints, Bank of America is a clear leader, with 42,740 complaints filed against it between 2011 and December 2014. Although the total amount of deposits is only a proxy for the number of customers, that's a remarkable amount of complaints for the third-largest bank by total deposits. Most common complaints? Mortgages, with 70 percent of complaints having to do with a mortgage-relate product. Account and credit card complaints make up another 27 percent of the total, with other categories occupying a very small piece of total complaints. Nearly half of all complaints were submitted online, and 96 percent of all complaints received a timely response.
Tread Lightly, But With Information
Comparisons between banks should be made with a grain of salt, as it stands to reason that banks with more customers likely will have more complaints on an aggregate basis. Moreover, there could be a tendency for the vocal minority to submit an outsized number of complaints.
With such a possibility noted, we still can infer one of two things. Either banks with a high number of complaints pertaining to certain product offerings focus on that area (and so expect to see more complaints there) or are just exceptionally bad at that offering. Whatever the case, the five banks above—though the largest in the nation—saw a considerable number of complaints lodged against them from 2011 to December 2014. And that's certainly something to consider.
Didn't see your bank mentioned here? No problem. Hop on over to the Banks topic at FindTheBest. You'll find everything from account information and fees to bank financials and contact information for more than 5,600 U.S. consumer banks.
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The following article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.