Consumer Bureau Launches Effort to Improve Bank Customer Service

Advocate Andy

Inquiry seeks ways to allow customers to exercise legal rights

A new inquiry by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is seeking input from banks and their customers about ways the industry can improve customer service in the age of algorithmic banking.

In a statement, the CFPB indicated that customer service and relationship banking were necessary in order to protect customers from industry abuses.

“Customers of large banks should not have to run through an obstacle course to get a straight answer about their account,” said Director Rohit Chopra. “We are taking steps to ensure the legally enshrined right to obtain basic customer service.”

Many large financial institutions are increasingly shifting toward algorithmic banking and away from relationship banking.

The decline of relationship banking has deprived some consumers of customized advice, responsiveness, and care. Customers report a struggle to obtain basic information and poor customer service, including that it takes too long to get problems solved, that they have to repeat information to multiple people, and that employees aren’t knowledgeable about their situation.

In order to address these challenges, the CFPB is seeking several specific pieces of information:

  • What information do people request from their bank and how are they using that information? What information are consumers currently unable to obtain from their bank?
  • Does how a person contact their bank make a difference in their ability to get information? For example, is there a difference if they visit in person or call or go online?
  • Are there customer service obstacles that inhibit their ability to bank?
  • Is there value in banks disclosing who they share account information with, or compensation they may receive for sharing that information?
  • What do bank customers experience in terms of wait times, disconnected calls, the ability to speak to a person at a specific location, or the quality of responses to questions?

Those wishing to comment can read the inquiry here with information on how to provide responses.

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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