The Center For Debt Management
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Consumer Financial Rights

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STATE LAWS

Many State Laws also provide rights and remedies in consumer financial transactions. Unless a state law conflicts with a particular federal law, the state law usually will apply. Some states have usury laws, which establish maximum rates of interest that creditors can charge for loans or credit sales. The maximum interest rates vary from state to state and depend upon the type of credit transaction involved.

Complaint Filing Process

If the consumer has a complaint against a financial institution, the first step is to contact an officer of the institution and attempt to resolve the complaint directly. Financial institutions value their customers and most will be helpful. If the consumer is unable to resolve the complaint directly, the financial institution's regulatory agency may be contacted for assistance.

The agency will usually acknowledge receipt of a complaint letter within a few days. If the letter is referred to another agency, the consumer will be advised of this fact. When the appropriate agency investigates the complaint the financial institution may be given a copy of the complaint letter.

The complaint should be submitted in writing and should include the following:

  • Complainant's name, address, telephone number;

  • The institution's name and address;

  • Type of account involved in the complaint--checking, savings, or loan--and account numbers, if applicable;

  • Description of the complaint, including specific dates and
    the institution's actions (copies of pertinent information or correspondence are also helpful);

  • li class=list>Date of contact and the names of individuals contacted at the institution with their responses; Complainant's signature and the date the complaint is being submitted to the regulatory agency.

The regulatory agencies will be able to help resolve the complaint if the financial institution has violated a banking law or regulation. They may not be able to help where the consumer is not satisfied with an institutions's policy or practices, even though no law or regulation was violated. Additionally, the regulatory agencies do not resolve factual or most contractual disputes.

The following information will help in determining which agency to contact.

National Bank

The Word "National" appears in the bank's name, or the initials N.A. appear after the bank's name.

Agency to Contact: Comptroller of the Currency State-Chartered Bank, Member of the Federal Reserve System

Two signs will be prominently displayed on the door of the bank or in the lobby. One will say "Member, Federal Reserve System." The other will indicate deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and/or "Deposits Federally Insured to $100,000--Backed by the Full Faith and Credit of the United States Government." The word "National" does not appear in the name; the initials N.A. do not appear after the name.

A sign will be prominently displayed at each teller station that indicates that deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and/or "Deposits Federally Insured to $100,000--Backed by the Full Faith and Credit of the United States Government." There will not be a sign saying "Member, Federal Reserve System." The word "National" or the initials N.A. will not appear in the name.

Generally, the work "Federal" appears in the name of the savings and loan association or its name includes initials such as "FA" which indicate its status as a federal savings and loan association. A sign will be prominently displayed at each teller station that says "Deposits Federally Insured to $100,000—Backed by the Full Faith and Credit of the United States Government."

Federal Savings Bank, Federally Insured

Generally, the work "Federal" appears in the name of the savings bank or its name includes the initials such as "FSB" which indicate its status as a federal savings bank. A sign will prominently displayed at each teller station that says "Deposits Insured to $100,000--Backed by the Full Faith and Credit of the United States Government."

There will be a sign prominently displayed at each teller station that says "Deposits Federally Insured to $100,000--Backed by the Full Faith and Credit of the United States Government."

Institution has none of the above described characteristics.
Agency to Contact: State Banking Department for state laws; Federal Trade Commission for federal laws.

Federally Chartered Credit Union

The term "Federal credit union" appears in the name of the credit union. A sign will be displayed by stations or windows where deposits are accepted indicating that deposits are insured by NCUA. The term "Federal credit union" does not appear in the name.

Other

Institutions have none of the characteristics described. Agency to Contact: Appropriate State Agency for state laws; Federal Trade Commission for federal laws.


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