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Four banks with WNY branches appear on bank complaints list

Four banks with branches in the Buffalo Niagara region appear on rankings of banks that generated the most consumer complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year.

Citizens Bank, Bank of America, KeyBank and M&T Bank each appeared on the list of 63 banks, which was created by LendEDU. The list was adjusted for relative size: banks were ranked by the number of complaints made about them to the CFPB per billion in deposits, using data from a publicly available federal database.

Citizens Bank was No. 2, and Bank of America was No. 9. KeyCorp was No. 13, while M&T Bank was No. 14. The rankings were based on complaints filed about all types of financial products.

This was the third annual list of complaints to the CFPB that was compiled by LendEDU. Citizens Bank had 860 complaints, which translated to a rate of 7.35 complaints per billion in deposits. That increased from a rate of 6.91 complaints per billion in deposits a year ago.

The rest of the banks with a local branch presence and their rate of complaints per billion in deposits were: Bank of America, 5.95; KeyCorp, 5.31; M&T, 5.28. The complaint rates for Bank of America, Key and M&T each dropped from 2017.

Rory Sheehan, a Citizens spokesman, said LendEDU's analysis of complaints per deposits "is one way to look at the CFPB data, but it does not account for other important variables that may differ greatly across banks, such as transaction volume and mix of assets, that would enable a more accurate comparison.

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"We regularly monitor and analyze the CFPB data in order to review and address customer concerns as quickly as possible, and leverage this and other data sources to identify opportunities to improve and evolve the customer experience," Sheehan said.

Tara Burke, a Bank of America spokeswoman, declined to comment on the LendEDU rankings.

While Key was pleased to see fewer client complaints filed, "we always strive to do more to exceed our clients’ expectations with tools and insight to help clients make confident financial decisions," said Key spokesman Matt Pitts. "We want to hear from our clients whenever we fall short of their expectations, whether clients come to us or contact us via a complaint to the (CFPB)."

M&T's decrease in banking-related complaints received year over year "underscores our commitment to being responsive to customer concerns," said Julia Berchou, an M&T spokeswoman.

"We’re proud of the quality of service we provide to our customers and we welcome customer feedback," she said. "We take every complaint seriously, and we strive to ensure that our customers enjoy seamless, consistent interactions with us."

LendEDU also published a list of 10 banks that generated no complaints to the CFPB last year. None of the 10 on that list has branches in the Buffalo Niagara region.

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