Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray
If the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has done nothing else, it has demonstrated just how loathsome the too-big-to-fail banks are to Americans. (And it has done much else—just this year it has fined Bank of America $727 million for illegal credit card practices, fined mortgage companies
for deceptive practices
, and dinged a payday lender
for $10 million.) America's big banks, mortgage services, student loan servicing companies, and debt collectors are really not popular among the public, judging by the number of complaints the CFPB has received about them, as documented by Mother Jones
In June 2012, the CFPB launched a consumer help center where Americans can lodge complaints against banks and financial institutions they believe are ripping them off. The information in the center's data base is public. So you can tell which Wall Street entities provoke the most gripes. Ranked by number of complaints, the top five most reviled institutions are Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Equifax, which is a credit-reporting agency, JPMorgan Chase, and Citibank. Debt collectors, mortgage servicers, and student loan servicing companies also fall within the top 20. As of this weekend, consumers had filed over 265,000 complaints. Bank of America earned 38,833 complaints, Wells Fargo drew 26,055, and JPMorgan Chase was the subject of 20,057.
Bank of America is slammed in the majority of complaints—more than 27,500 of them—are about the banks mortgage practices and foreclosures. Wells Fargo has serious problems with basic banking—checking and savings accounts and the charges and fees that they levy, as does JPMorgan Chase. Citibank, like B of A, is mired in complaints about mortgages and foreclosures. Tellingly, the CFPB and/or the Department of Justice have taken some kind of action against each one of these banks, resulting in cumulative fines reaching into the billions.
No wonder Wall Street and the Republicans are so committed to trying to kill the agency.