Ombudsman for the Federal Reserve System
- act as a liaison between the agency and any affected person with respect to any problem the party may have in dealing with the agency resulting from the regulatory activities of the agency, and
- ensure that safeguards exist to encourage complainants to come forward and to preserve confidentiality.
See the Board's policy statement concerning the Ombudsman function.
Independent of the Ombudsman function, the Federal Reserve System maintains a consumer complaint and inquiry program to assist customers who are experiencing difficulty with their financial institution.
Please see the Board's policy statement for more information regarding the Federal Reserve System's process for appealing material supervisory determinations.
What the Ombudsman Does
The Ombudsman's responsibilities are to
- act as a facilitator and mediator for the resolution of complaints concerning regulatory or supervisory actions;
- where the Ombudsman is not the appropriate forum, direct complaints to the appropriate appeals process or other forum;
- ensure that complaints about Board or Reserve Bank regulatory actions are addressed in a fair and timely manner; and
- receive complaints of retaliation when a party has used the Ombudsman or any other existing avenue of appeal or complaint forum, and take steps to resolve those complaints.
What the Ombudsman Does Not Do
The Ombudsman does not
- take sides (the Ombudsman maintains a neutral position);
- handle or mediate disputes for which there is an existing avenue of appeal or other forum, such as an enforcement proceeding, an appeal of a material supervisory determination (other than a retaliation complaint), or a matter within the jurisdiction of the Board's Inspector General; or
- handle complaints concerning internal Board functions, such as personnel and procurement.
What to Do if You Have a Complaint
Margaret McCloskey Shanks, Associate Secretary of the Board, is the Board's Ombudsman. You can reach the Ombudsman's office in the following ways:
Dial toll free 1-800-337-0429 and leave a message.
Send written materials to 202-530-6208.
Send an e-mail to Ombudsman@frb.gov.
Margaret McCloskey Shanks
Associate Secretary & Ombudsman
Federal Reserve Board
20th & C Streets, NW, Mail Stop 28
Washington, DC 20551
What to Do if You Have a Consumer Complaint
If you are a consumer and you believe a financial institution has violated federal consumer protection laws, such as the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Truth in Lending Act, you can file a complaint with the Federal Reserve System. If the institution is regulated by the Federal Reserve System, System staff will investigate the matter. If the institution is regulated by another agency, staff will connect you with or forward your complaint to the appropriate federal regulator.
How Is Your Confidentiality Protected?
The Ombudsman's office has established safeguards to preserve confidentiality, including dedicated telephone and fax lines and secure file facilities. Except in unusual circumstances, information or material provided by the complainant in the course of review of a complaint (including the identity of the complainant) will not be disclosed outside of the Ombudsman's office, unless the complainant authorizes disclosure to assist in resolution of the problem.
If We Are Unable to Address Your Problem
The Federal Reserve System regulates state member banks, bank holding companies, and certain types of foreign banking organizations; it does not regulate all types of financial institutions. If you have a problem involving an institution regulated by one of the other banking regulators, you can reach those agencies at the telephone numbers listed below:
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Charters and regulates national banks.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Regulates state charted banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System.
1-877- 275-3342 (1-877-ASK-FDIC)
National Credit Union Administration
Regulates credit unions.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Carries out federal consumer financial protection laws.