Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

File a Complaint with Banks

How do I submit a complaint?

First, determine if the Washington State Division of Banks regulates the financial institution you have a complaint against. View a complete list of financial institutions regulated by the Washington State Division of Banks. If the financial institution is not on the list, please view our frequently asked questions.

Second, attempt to resolve the dispute by contacting the financial institution. This may involve directly contacting senior bank management or the bank’s customer service representative for assistance.

Finally, if your dispute cannot be resolved, you may file a complaint with the Division of Banks using one of three methods below:

  1. File a complaint online.

  2. File a complaint via mail or fax (PDF)*

  3. Contact the Division of Banks by calling 360-902-8704 or 1-877-RING DFI (1-877-746-4334).

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I determine if the bank I have a complaint against is chartered by the Washington State Division of Banks?

Washington State chartered banks - view a complete list of financial institutions regulated by the Division of Banks.

National and federal banks - can usually be identified because they have the words "national" or "national association" in their titles or the letters N.A. or NT&SA following their titles.

Federal savings banks can usually be identified because they have the words “federal association” or “federal savings bank” in their titles or the letters F.A. or FSB following their titles. However, a state bank may also have the word “federal” in its title. For assistance in determining whether or not your financial institution is a state or federal savings bank, you may wish to call our office. Complaints against federal savings banks should be directed to the Office of Thrift Supervision, which regulates federal thrifts.

Complaints against national and federal banks should be directed to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks.

Credit card companies - Credit card complaints can be filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  

Other lenders - the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates lenders that are not banks or credit unions.

NOTE: The Division of Banks regulates Titles 30, 32, and 33 of the Revised Code of Washington. Disputes involving contract interpretation, questions of fact, or other legal issues fall under the jurisdiction of the courts, and you will be advised to seek legal counsel.

Is my complaint public information and available to any member of the public who requests it?

Generally yes. The Washington Public Records Act (PRA), RCW 42.56, may require disclosure of a complaint after a file is closed. If you choose, you may keep your identifying information exempt from disclosure under the PRA by stating in your complaint that "I request that my information identifying me not be disclosed if requested pursuant to the Public Records Act" or by checking the relevant box on the complaint form. Please note that this exemption does not necessarily restrict the release of your identifying information pursuant to a court order, subpoena, or during litigation.

What will the division do in response to my complaint?

Once we receive your complaint, we will contact the bank and request a written response to your concerns. A copy of your complaint, along with all enclosures, is forwarded to the bank for their internal investigation. The Division of Banks will review the bank’s response to your complaint to ensure that your concerns have been addressed. If additional information is needed, we will contact you by telephone or in writing. If a state banking law or regulation has been violated, we will inform you of the violation and the corrective action the bank has been directed to take.

Although the Division of Banks processes all complaints involving the banks it regulates, it does not have the authority to resolve all types of problems. For example, we are unable to resolve contractual disputes, undocumented factual disputes between a customer and a bank, or disagreements about bank policies and procedures. These matters are usually determined by bank policy and are not addressed by state banking law or regulation. In many instances, however, by filing a complaint, a bank may voluntarily work with you to resolve your situation. If, however, the matter is not resolved, we will advise you whether a violation of another law has occurred or whether you should consider legal counsel to resolve your complaint. The Division of Banks does not offer legal advice or participate in the credit granting process.

In general, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the Federal Reserve System (FRS) have the authority to enforce most of the federal consumer protection laws that apply to banks. Our Division works with the FDIC and the FRS to monitor compliance with consumer protection laws by our state banks. An index can be found at http://www.federalreserve.gov/Regulations of a wide range of federal regulations having to do with banking and financial matters.

The following federal agencies are responsible for enforcing federal laws that govern Credit and ATM card transactions. Questions concerning a particular card issuer should be directed to the enforcement agency responsible for that issuer.

State Member Banks of the Federal Reserve System
Consumer and Community Affairs
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
20th & C Sts., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20551

National and Federal Banks
Comptroller of the Currency
Compliance Management
Mail Stop 7-5
Washington, D.C. 20219

Federal Credit Unions
National Credit Union Administration
1775 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314-3428

Non-Member Federally Insured Banks
Office of Consumer Programs
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
550 Seventeenth St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20429

Other Credit Card Issuers
(includes retail/gasoline companies)
Consumer Response Center
Federal Trade Commission
Washington, D.C. 20580

The Federal Trade Commission also regulates credit reporting agencies.  The FTC has also developed a special website to combat identity theft.

* This document is a PDF file, and you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it. If you don't already have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, you may download it for free from Adobe.