Consumer banks can do a number of things for individual consumers, including:
- Loaning you money
- Giving you a home mortgage
- Establishing a checking or savings account
Banks are heavily regulated by state law and also by federal law through the Truth in Savings Act. When there is a conflict with your bank, these bank laws help protect you and your money.
Common Consumer Banking Problems
There are a number of ways to work out problems with your bank, whether your matter is merely an accounting error or a serious contractual dispute. Some common consumer complaints against a bank may involve:
- Discrimination in lending, i.e., lending only to certain groups or denying loans to others
- Violations of banking laws or statutes
- Unfair practices
- Deception or loan fraud in dealing with customers
What Should I Do If I Have a Dispute with My Bank?
- Contact Your Bank. Usually banks will try and work out problems with customers so that they can maintain good customer relations. If this does not work, you may have to work outside the bank’s customer relations department.
- File a Complaint with the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve is the government institution that regulates banks. If you have a problem with your bank that you could not resolve, you can file a complaint with the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve will then investigate the bank and your complaint. If the Federal Reserve believes there has been a violation of the law, they will notify you of it and order the bank to rectify the problem. The Federal Reserve's power is not limitless. They cannot handle complaints that involve contractual or factual disputes. These are usually resolved through litigation.
- Sue Your Bank. If nothing else works, you can take your bank to court. Suing a bank is not easy because banking laws are very complex. Moreover, a bank is likely to have a whole team of lawyers ready to defend them. Before you try and take on a bank in court, you should probably consult a consumer banking lawyer.
Do I Need an Attorney to Handle My Banking Problem?
The laws that govern banks are very complex and change frequently. Even if you understand banking law, you will probably have a very hard time taking on your bank's team of lawyers,and navigating through the complex process of litigation. A business attorney will know all about the ever-changing banking laws in your state and help protect your interests.