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NCUA: CUs Have 60 Days to Respond to Consumer Complaints
Tuesday, June 9, 2015 6:45 AM

Credit unions have 60 days to respond to consumer complaints before the National Credit Union Administration’s Consumer Assistance Center (CAC) gets involved, the agency said in a Letter to Federal Credit Unions (15-CU-04) last week. The agency described recent changes intended to streamline and improve its consumer complaint handling process, which involves two separate phases: attempted resolution by the credit union and CAC investigation.

In the initial phase, the CAC will assign a case number and forward the complaint to the credit union’s CEO and to the chair of the credit union’s supervisory committee. The committee will have the opportunity to review and attempt resolution of the matter within 60 calendar days of the date of the forwarded letter.

If the CAC is notified within 60 days that the matter is resolved, the case will be closed. The CAC will begin a formal investigation if no written response is given, the credit union indicates that it cannot resolve the matter or the consumer disputes the resolution.

The investigation will consist of an assessment of all issues in the complaint, leading to five possible findings:

  • The complaint does not involve a federal financial consumer protection law or federal consumer compliance regulation for which NCUA has enforcement authority;
  • The complaint is the subject of a pending lawsuit;
  • The credit union has resolved the complaint with the consumer;
  • The credit union’s actions in this matter either did not violate or were not inconsistent with a federal financial consumer protection law or federal consumer compliance regulation; or
  • The credit union’s actions in this matter either violated or were inconsistent with a federal financial consumer protection law or federal consumer compliance regulation for which NCUA has enforcement authority.

In the latter case, should the NCUA have supervisory concerns about the credit union’s actions, it will follow up directly and ensure compliance with the applicable law or regulation. Complaints that do not fall within the NCUA’s purview are forwarded to the appropriate state supervisory authority or federal regulator. This includes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for complaints involving federal consumer protection laws and those against credit unions with assets of more than $10 billion.

According to the NCUA, these changes will be implemented gradually over the next several months.