Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) took action against Citizens Bank for failing to credit consumers the full amounts of their deposited funds. The bank kept money from deposit discrepancies when receipts did not match actual money transferred. Today’s CFPB consent order requires the bank to provide approximately $11 million in refunds to consumers and pay a $7.5 million penalty for the violations.
“Citizens Bank regularly denied customers the full credits of their deposits when there were discrepancies between deposit slips and the actual money transferred into the bank,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “The bank chose to ignore these discrepancies and harmed many consumers by pocketing the difference.”
Today’s CFPB action is against Citizens Bank, N.A., formerly known as RBS Citizens Bank, N.A.; Citizens Financial Group, Inc., formerly known as RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc.; and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. The bank operates retail branches in about a dozen states and among its various products and services are deposit accounts. For the period at issue, the bank generally required its customers making a deposit to fill out a slip listing the checks or cash being deposited, and their total. The customer then turned the deposit slip over to the bank and got a receipt reflecting the amount on the deposit slip for the transaction. The bank scanned the deposit slip and deposit items at a central location.
The CFPB investigation found that from January 1, 2008 to November 30, 2013, Citizens Bank violated the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s prohibition on unfair and deceptive practices by failing to properly credit consumers’ checking and savings accounts. In cases where the bank’s scanner misread either the deposit slip or the checks, or if the total on the deposit slip did not equal the total of the actual checks, Citizens Bank did not take action to fix the mistake if it fell below a certain dollar amount. Over the years, by ignoring the discrepancies the bank shorted consumers millions of dollars. Specifically, Citizens Bank:
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB has the authority to take action against institutions engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices. Today’s order requires Citizens Bank to:
The CFPB is taking this action in coordination with the FDIC and the OCC. The FDIC separately ordered Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania to pay restitution and a $3 million civil penalty. The OCC separately ordered Citizens Bank, N.A., to pay restitution and a $10 million civil penalty. In total, Citizens Bank must pay about $11 million in consumer refunds and $20.5 million in federal penalties for these coordinated actions. As part of these actions, the FDIC and OCC are ordering additional relief relating to business accounts.
A copy of the CFPB consent order is available at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201408_cfpb_consent-order-rbs-citizens.pdf
Information about the FDIC action can be found at: https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2015/
Information about the OCC action can be found at: http://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2015/index-2015-news-releases.html