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To the surprise of many, banks received fewer complaints in 2011

Mar 05, 2012 Phil Burgess

Complaints against U.S. banks shrank in 2011, according to data released this week by the Better Business Bureau. The news comes as something of a surprise to many analysts, who observed considerable public discontent following the industry's various proposals to introduce new checking and debit card fees. Even as all large financial institutions reneged on their plans for such charges, there has been a steady flow of criticism by consumers since the financial collapse of 2008. However, the BBB reported Thursday that the number of complaints by consumers dropped by 30 percent in 2011 compared to the previous year. Across the more than 4,000 industries surveyed, total consumer complaints rose by 6 percent to reach 894,868. "To me, the overwhelming story here is that [the complaints] are small compared to how criticized the banks have been over the past 36 months," said Jaret Seiberg, a senior policy analyst at Guggenheim Securities' Washington Research Group. Despite the challenges of the Dodd-Frank Act, debit card fee limits and new mortgage regulations, complaints are still coming down, Seiberg added.