What Federal Agency Handles Complaints Against Mortgage Services?

••• Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Getting approved for a mortgage takes considerable effort and a bit of strategizing. While making payments each month is straightforward, a lot can happen along the way to paying off your mortgage. Unless you refinance or your bank sells your loan to another lender, you're wedded together with your lender until you pay off the loan. When things go wrong and you want to complain about your lender, it's to your advantage to know who you can talk to besides the lender itself.

What is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

Created by Congress in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Franks Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau oversees the practices of banks, credit unions and financial institutions, and enforces federal consumer protection laws. The bureau protects borrowers in many ways, including hearing any mortgage complaints that borrowers have with their lenders. You can contact the bureau via it's online mortgage complaint form on its website, fax in a complaint, call the toll-free number, or send a written correspondence.

Filing A Complaint

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a formal process for reviewing and following up on mortgage complaints. Once you submit a complaint, the bureau reviews it and forwards it to the financial institution in question. The bank has 15 days to provide a response. According to the bureau policies, the financial institution is expected to resolve most complaints within 60 days. You can check the status of your complaint with the login information you created when you filed the complaint, if you filed online. If you're not satisfied with the results, you have the ability to dispute the resolution.

Common Mortgage Complaints

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in 2012 consumers submitted over 23,000 mortgage complaints. The most prevalent complaints included borrowers not being able to make payments to the lender or get their loans modified or refinanced, and issues applying for a loan. Despite the bureau's straightforward approach to receiving and reviewing complaints, the toughest items to resolve include assisting consumers with mortgage modification issues or lost payments made to the lender.

Additional Reporting Organizations

Several other organizations exist and regularly field mortgage complaints from consumers who've had trouble getting their payments to their loan servicer or have experienced mortgage fraud or predatory lending. Organizations such as the Federal Trade Commission, the FBI, the National Credit Union Association, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency handle reports of fraud or illegal practices by banks, credit unions and mortgage professionals.

Meeting Lenders Where They Are

If your mortgage complaint stems from difficulty getting your mortgage modified, housing counselors who specialize in foreclosure prevention programs recommend finding additional ways to contact the lender. Some large financial institutions are sponsoring outreach events across the country to meet with borrowers face-to-face to discuss foreclosure alternatives. Additionally, seek the advice of a HUD approved counselor if you're behind on your mortgage and can't get through to your lender. Counselors within local nonprofit housing agencies typically have the direct numbers of lender departments where you can get answers to your questions.