A recent Reuter’s story had some surprising news about the banking industry. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), American consumer complaints against banks dropped by 30 percent in 2011. Surprising if you consider how much criticism has been wielded at banks over the past 36 months.
While banks really don’t seem to be interested in offering the average consumer any debt relief, new regulations, such as the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform law and the Credit Card Act, have helped to heal some consumer wounds as they have hurt the industry’s bottom line.
Here’s what else the BBB found:
- Consumer complaints in over 4,000 industry categories increased in 2011 by 6 percent overall;
- Cell phone service and equipment providers, auto dealers, and television transmission companies received the most complaints;
- Banks received the fifth-largest number of complaints in 2011;
- Complaints related to loans and small business loans dropped 36 and 38 percent respectively;
- Consumers complained about widespread abuses in the credit card industry, citing “hidden fees, random spikes in interest rates, and poor customer service”;
- Complaints related to credit cards and plans dropped 28 percent, while those against mortgage brokers fell 31 percent; and
- Complaints against payday lenders rose 162 percent, though the group ranked 56th among all industries.
The hope is that with an increase in transparency on the front end, consumers will be more aware of what they are walking into, resulting in a decline in complaints.