Whether it comes to being, in general, the most scorned of all banks, or the worst possible mortgage lender in particular, usually wins — if you can call it that — handily. Time after time, market research surveys and government databases show that, of all the banks that people complain about, Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) always garners the lion’s share of grievances.
Florida shows its disdain
Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau decided to pinpoint from which states consumer complaints regarding banks were originating. Not surprisingly, since it was one of the states that suffered the most during the mortgage crisis, Florida was found to have registered nearly 11,570 gripes about banks and their service. Of those complaints, 23% were aimed squarely at Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC).
Other banks were criticized, too, though not to the same extent. Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) is the second-largest bank in Florida, after B of A, but it received only 14% of the complaints, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) tallied 10%. Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) collected a mere 6% of the total.
Customers aren’t the only ones incensed over Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC)’s mortgage service. Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi, has sent a letter to bank officials about compliance lapses her office allegedly has seen in Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC)’s handling of its part of the National Mortgage Settlement — a pact that she herself helped negotiate. She noted that her office has received nearly 300 complaints since last August, when a special liaison was set up to record problems between borrowers and the banks.
The New York AG’s Office, as well, has recently announced its plan to sue B of A and Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) for violations of the $25 billion settlement, though that case is currently on hold.
Brownie points for Wells Fargo
Possibly due to this announcement from the CFPB, Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) decided last week to settle a dispute regarding its own foreclosure practices, pledging $42 million to several states where it was alleged that it did not maintain bank-owned properties in minority neighborhoods as well as it did those in white areas.
Florida, which received part of this settlement, praised Wells while noting that Bank of America and U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), also named in the complaint, hadn’t yet done the same. The latter bank, incidentally, registered approximately 1.2% of the complaints logged by the CFPB.