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How to File a Formal Complaint Against a Credit Union

How to File a Formal Complaint Against a Credit Union

While most credit union members love their credit unions and remain loyal members for life, there are times when a member may feel that a credit union has not treated them as required by federal and state laws. We recommend first trying to resolve your issue directly with the credit union, since often problems occur simply from miscommunication.

Credit Union employees are members themselves and therefore maintain a vested interest in the credit union, just like you. However, if you have tried to work with your credit union but still feel you have been treated unfairly, you do have rights. The federal government provides an easy way to file a complaint against any financial institution, whether it be a credit union or a bank.

Through the Federal Reserve Consumer Help website, you can find out if you are eligible to file a complaint. If elgible to file, you then fill out a quick and easy online form proving your information, which will be routed to the appropriate regulatory agency. In general, you can file a complaint if you think a financial institution has been unfair or misleading, discriminated against you in lending, or violated a law or regulation.

The Federal Reserve investigates complaints related to federal consumer protection laws, such as the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Truth in Lending Act. While you can file a complaint directly with National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for federal credit union complaints, their website does not make it quite as quick and easy as the Federal Reserve's Consumer Help website to get the process started. Once you file a complaint through the Federal Reserve, you should get an email within a week or two informing you that your information has been forwarded to the proper regulatory agency with similar information as below:

Dear [NAME]: This e-mail is to acknowledge our receipt of your correspondence on [DATE]. The entity you are inquiring about is regulated by the [REGULATOR], and we have forwarded your correspondence to the [REGULATOR] to investigate and respond to you directly. If you have questions about the status of the investigation of your complaint, please use the following contact information for the [REGULATOR]...

The next step will depend on the nature of your complaint and whether your credit union is federal or state chartered. For federal charted credit unions, NCUA does not represent consumers in settling claims or recovering damages. However, if your complaint indicates a violation of federal law has occurred, NCUA will take steps to ensure the federal credit union complies with applicable laws and regulations. State charted credit unions will be referred to the state agency responsible for regulating credit unions.

Whatever the outcome of your situation, remember that credit unions are owned and operated by their members, so even if you have a bad experience at one credit union, that does not represent the credit union philosophy of "People Helping People," so try to find another credit union in your area to continue supporting the worldwide credit union movement.

By Gregory Hurley
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