TCF Bank customers complain the most, consumer study finds

TCF Bank
A TCF Bank branch in St. Paul, Minn.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Wayzata-based TCF Bank tops a recent list based on the number of complaints per dollars deposited, according to data from the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

TCF drew almost 25 complaints per billion dollars of deposits. That's almost three times No. 2 Sovereign Bank received.

More from Money Talk News:

Checking accounts drew the lion's share of complaints, accounting for almost 80 percent of those filed with the CFPB. Savings accounts and certificates of deposit lagged far behind.

Consumers were most displeased with opening, closing and managing their accounts, which accounted for 41 percent of complaints to the CFPB.

A representative from TCF was unable to join The Daily Circuit, but sent a response to the study. The study improperly characterized the consumer landscape, TCF said:

By choosing to focus on the number of complaints per $1 billion dollars of total deposits, PIRG fails to differentiate between banks with primarily consumer deposit accounts vs. commercial deposits. TCF's business is focused on consumer accounts which are more likely to generate consumer complaints than banks focused on commercial businesses and wealth management, a business model that has a much smaller number of accounts per $1 billion of deposits...

It is significant to note that the time period measured in the PIRG report coincides with TCF's discontinuation of its highly popular free checking product due to regulatory changes and other economic pressures. In response to feedback from consumers, TCF made the bold decision to reinstate free checking. And since that time, complaints have dropped significantly while TCF's checking base has grown dramatically.

TCF has been under fire in recent years for their practices on the University of Minnesota campus.

From ABC News:

The Minneapolis-based bank is paying the University of Minnesota more than $1 million a year to help it recruit students as customers, even offering the school bonus payments of $34 for every student that takes a TCF Bank account...

The university told ABC News the TCF Bank account is "one of the best banking options available to students," but that students are welcome to look elsewhere. But Miller said most are easily persuaded to sign up with the financial institution that calls itself the school's "official bank." He said records show 85 percent of incoming freshmen at University of Minnesota are signing up for TCF Bank accounts.

On The Daily Circuit, we'll look at what banks are doing to resolve customer complaints and what consumers can do to protect their money.

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