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Meet Greg from Michigan

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Since we launched on July 21st 2011, we’ve heard directly from consumers about the challenges they face in the marketplace, brought their concerns to the attention of financial institutions, and helped address their complaints. Accepting, resolving, and analyzing consumer complaints is an integral part of our work.

This week, we’ll be featuring stories from consumers who we have helped, and who have agreed to let the CFPB make their stories public.

Greg, a 39-year-old insurance adjuster from Michigan, whose credit rating was damaged after a bank failed to tell him that an account with which he was associated was in arrears.

Greg added his name to his 71-year-old mother’s checking account after he helped her move into an assisted living facility. Six months passed without Greg getting any statements or hearing from the bank. Little did he know, however, that his mother had written a check and the account was racking up big fees because its balance had fallen below zero. He found out about it when he checked his credit report and saw that he owed a collection agency $469.

Greg paid the bill but his credit was harmed and he says the bank wouldn’t help. After the CFPB got involved, the bank apologized for their error, called off the debt collector, and had Greg’s negative credit record removed.

Learn more

To see more about how we handle consumer complaints, read our Consumer Response Snapshot and to see all credit card complaints, visit our consumer complaint database.

  • Lisabinkley

    While it is great news that you were able to help Greg, I find it concerning that little to no facts were given about the situation.  If an individual could add himself to the account AND put his mother in a facility, WHY didn’t he follow up with her mail?  Are we to believe the bank did not send statements?  If he was not going to be responsible for assisting his mother with her financial affairs, then why was he added to the account?  In the end, why was this a bank error?  Or did they just back off because CFPB was involved?  In this case, it appears based on the information that the last point is supported and that does not benefit the consumer in any fashion.  The fair credit reporting act, requires that information regarding delinquent accounts be true and be reported accordingly.  Can we say that was true in this case?

  • JohnQBanker

    For every customer like this I can direct you to hundreds that abuse the credit bureau dispute process as advocated by any number of “rebuild your credit” outfits to dispute every single credit bureau reported item whether true or not in the hopes that somewhere along the line the creditor slips up and fails to validate the disputed information in the thirty day time window resulting in the item being removed, even if it was actually factual. So yeah, go ahead and post your stories that basically tell everyone that if they’ll just complain, you’re the new cop on the beat who is gonna make everything OK. Let’s not let facts get in the way.

  • Anthony Demangone

    CFPB – I’d like you to meet Sally, from one of my favorite credit unions.  She’s a compliance officer, and she does her best to keep her credit union in compliance with the astounding amount of rules and guidance documents that credit unions face.  She cares about her credit union, and she cares about the credit union’s members.  She’s a bit busy now, seeing as she has to sift through 1,400 pages of mortgage proposals that recently arrived at her doorstep.  

    Sally will tell you that even at her credit union, they’ll only reach out to the address or phone number on file.  So if an account is in arrears, they’ll do their best to contact the member.  But Sally will also tell you how maddening it can be to find out how many members don’t keep their account information up to date.   There’s only so much Sally can do.  Especially with those 1,400 pages on her desk.  Oh, and she’s also responsible for BSA compliance as well.  But that’s probably not your concern, as it flows from a different agency. 

    I wonder how hard you are working to get to know Sally, and why you never write about her, or her peers, on this blog?- Anthony Demangone, COOThe National Association of Federal Credit Unions

  • Adam

    If Greg was so worried about his mother (and his credit), why didn’t he chech the account balance online? 

  • ukcats

    Hmmm.   So if the bank had just returned the check NSF, everyone would have been happy????
    Methinks the bank just knuckled under on this one; is this government bullying???? 

  • Whistleblower

    If the bank had just returned the check as NSF instead of clearing using “Overdraft Protection” or “Courtesy Pay” programs which Greg  probably did not know he enrolled for this would be a non issue.  STOP THIS ABUSE BY FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS!!!!

    • really?

      Returning the check for non-sufficient funds would likely still left this customer overdrawn due to the nsf fee. Although all the facts in the situation above are conveniently ommitted, we can assume it likely that the mother did not have a $800 balance and write an $801 check.  More likely the fee itself was larger than her balance and the situation would only be worse as the legal system would have become involved as she committed a crime by passing a bad check.  Don’t for a second believe the bank was the bad guy because they tried to cover her check. 

      • Whistleblower

        It is blatantly obvious this blog is filled with financial institution employees who would rather criticize the CFPB than actually contribute something to the process and help America’s consumers.  We must keep our profits up right?  How much does it cost to process an overdraft?  $0.01?  $0.02?  And you charge $20 – $40 for the convenience?  It’s legalized loan sharking no matter how you look at it.  But, you have to pay for the nice offices, bonuses, and other amenities right. 

    • Really?

      Returning the check for non-sufficient funds would likely still left this customer overdrawn due to the nsf fee. Although all the facts in the situation above are conveniently ommitted, we can assume it likely that the mother did not have a $800 balance and write an $801 check.  More likely the fee itself was larger than her balance and the situation would only be worse as the legal system would have become involved as she committed a crime by passing a bad check.  Don’t for a second believe the bank was the bad guy because they tried to cover her check. 

  • GarySomerville

    It seems to me that Greg was extremely irresponsible through this whole thing.  He was on the account for 6 months and never bothered to ask where statements were so he could keep the account in good standing?  Where was his responsibility???  The level of detail provided in the scenario above is fairly limited, so it is difficult to know what really happened.  But, if he was supposed to be taking responsibility for managing this account and he didn’t bother to inquire as to where statements were for months and months, why is he the victim here?  Why is the bank involved seen as the abuser?  There was a legitimate debt here that he didn’t bother to address.  His credit SHOULD have been dinged.

  • None

    I guess bank account opening forms should disclose that you’ll be liable for overdrafts on your account.  I mean, how else could you possibly know that you’d be responsible for authorized activity in your account?

  • MessengerBoy

    Just curious as to whether the bank “apologized for their [sic] error” or whether it just decided is wasn’t worth a fight with the Rich Cordray Agency (RCA). No matter, “they” got the short end of the stick either way. If “they” had not “apologized” the RCA would still show the complaint in their database without any context to understand the complaint; or when “they” apologized the RCA puts them on display as bad “guys.”

    Is this any way to run an agency? I mean, really?

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