It’s unfortunately inevitable that some borrowers will run into problems with their mortgage lenders given just how much money there is in play and how seriously people take issues relating to their homes.
And while there are a number of places where borrowers with grievances can file formal complaints, the best approach is often to first take a step back, rationally analyze the situation, and see if you and your lender can work things out directly. The advantages of doing so are threefold:
- Quicker resolution: Mortgage oversight and regulation is a governmental responsibility, and whether your complaint would need to be filed with a state or federal agency, you’d end up dealing with a bureaucracy. That means a lot of waiting before the issue in question is brought to a conclusion. However, if you are able to avoid bringing a middle man into the fold, you might be able to bring the issue to rest fairly quickly and then move on.
- Potentially less hassle: First of all, there’s going to be some paperwork involved with submitting a mortgage complaint, and if the agency to whom you submit it decides to look into the matter further, you’ll likely have to provide additional details before going back and forth with the agency as your complaint goes through a resolution process. Talking things out with your lender and discussing potential solutions to your problem might not only result in less work overall, but it will also give you an idea of your lender’s thought process which could come in handy if you have to go the formal-complaint route.
- A better working relationship: No lender likes to be reported to regulators, and you might be able to minimize animosity if you avoid submitting a formal complaint.
If either this does not work or your situation is serious enough to merit immediate governmental notification, there are a number of places where you can submit complaints at both the state and federal level. As you’ll see below, where you submit your complaint depends on whom you are complaining about.
- Savings & Loan: While the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) once regulated federally-insured savings and loan institutions, it was absorbed into the Office of the Comproller of the Currency in July 2011, so complaints can be submitted with the OCC.
- State-Chartered Banks and Trusts: The Federal Reserve Board oversees state-chartered banks belonging to the Federal Reserve System, and complaints can be submitted to the Fed’s consumer help website.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation oversees state-chartered banks that do not belong to the Federal Reserve System, and you can submit a complaint by filling out a Consumer Assistance Form.
You can also file complaints about state-chartered banks and trusts through their respective states themselves at the Conference of State Bank Supervisors website.
- Federal Credit Unions: The National Credit Union Association (NCUA) oversees federal credit unions, and complaints can be submitted via the NCUA website.
- State-Chartered Credit Unions: State agencies oversee these institutions, and complaints can be directed to your particular state agency’s website.
- Other Mortgage Lenders: The federal Trade Commission is in charge of regulating other mortgage lenders, and you can submit complaints through the FTC’s secure online complaint form.
- Federal Housing Programs: Complaints about Farm Credit Administration (FCA) members can be submitted through the FCA website, and issues relating to discrimination, land sales, and mobile homes can be made to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
It’s important to note that reporting procedures for complaints likely vary between agencies, so it’s important that you determine what information you will need to provide. In addition, most agencies will also allow you to submit complaints via mail, e-mail, fax or phone if you’d prefer to do so rather than fill out an online complaint form.