ABA Banking Journal - June 2012 - (Page 30)

feature story | customer feedback Science of Handling consumer complaints in the age of CFPB, UDAAP, and Twitter By Steve Cocheo, Executive Editor N o matter from who, where, or when a complaint arises at Cambridge Trust Co., it lands on Ana Foster’s desk. And she’s not happy. Not because she minds handling the few formal complaints the Massachusetts bank receives, but because she wants to develop a system that is more proactive, less reactive. Foster, vice-president, risk and compliance, for the $1.3 billion-assets bank, very much feels the looming shadow of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which encourages complaints through its rhetoric and through multiple portals on its website. She and every bank compliance officer likewise anticipate the growing influence of UDAAP— the regulatory gauge standing for Unfair, Deceptive and Abusive Acts and Practices, and increasingly the government’s consumer regulatory tool of choice. Foster simply wants to get ahead of the curve, spotting more quickly anything that indicates dissatisfaction, lack of smoothness, or the seeds of future trouble that can be contained and fixed before they become a headache, or worse. As an example, Foster points to fee waivers. They’re a fact of life in every bank, but if a bank finds it frequently waives a particular fee, that may mean something’s not working right. Foster believes improved documentation and reporting of factors beyond actual complaints may be part of the evolution she seeks. “I want to do this before an examiner or an attorney from the government tells me to,” says Foster. Consultant Jo Ann Barefoot believes such concerns are very valid today, when complaints can surface instantly in social media, like dirty laundry. “A lot of banks’ legacy complaint systems,” she says, “don’t have the ability to capture root causes of complaints.” That, she adds, is where solutions and preventative measures must begin. A 2011 Ernst & Young survey among large bank executives, Effectively Leveraging Consumer Complaints For Competitive Advantage, found that many weren’t satisfied with how well their complaints systems drove process improvements. CFPB, says Barefoot, “is very interested in the quality of systems and their control of complaints.” | ABA BANKING JOURNAL | June 2012 30

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - June 2012

ABA Banking Journal - June 2012
Contents
Chairman’s View
Editor’s Column
The Economy
Bank Notes
Picture This
ABA Community Banking: A purpose-built bank
Pass the Aspirin
Tech Topics
Science of the complaint
Top-performing community banks
Compliance Clinic
ABA Resources
Legal Issues
First Person

ABA Banking Journal - June 2012

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