Frequently Asked Questions

Consumers can make a free telephone call for help during business hours: 1-800-PA-BANKS (1-800-722-2657). Investors can call 1-800-600-0007. A member of our staff will answer the call and address your questions or complaints. You can also file a complaint or ask a question online. Some of our most frequently asked questions include:

How can you help me?
The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities can provide consumers with limited information on state-chartered financial institutions and receive complaints about banks and banking institutions, state-licensed companies and individuals in non-bank lending and individuals and companies engaged in the sale of securities. We cannot help you with federally-chartered institutions, but we can refer you to the appropriate federal agency.

How can I make a complaint?
If you have a complaint about a state-chartered or state-licensed institution, company or individual and have been unable to resolve the matter with them, you can call us at 1-800-PA-BANKS (consumers) or 1-800-600-0007 (investors), or file a complaint or ask a question online. A staff member will ask for background information about your situation and may request that you submit copies of certain documents relative to the matter. We will use this information to address the complaint and ensure that there have been no legal or regulatory violations. Our staff also responds to inquiries regarding questions of licensure for entities operating in Pennsylvania, as well as other general consumer issues.

Can a third party help me with my loan modification?
An increasing number of companies are offering to help people modify their mortgages – for a fee.  The reality is that many of these offers are scams intended to prey upon people who are already in financial distress. At the very least, they are charging consumers for a service they can get for free or do by themselves. There are professional housing counseling agencies throughout Pennsylvania that are certified by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to assist homeowners with mortgage problems.  Best of all, the help is free.

Can you help me file a complaint against a federally-chartered bank, credit union or savings
and loan?

If you call us about a federally chartered bank or savings and loan, we will refer you to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees these banks. If you call us about a federally chartered credit union, we will refer you to the National Credit Union Administration.

To whom should I give out personal or financial information?
You should give personal and financial information only to people known personally to you and trusted by you.

Our staff fields questions about a wide variety of financial and business subjects. Consumers can call us toll-free at 1-800-PA-BANKS, investors can call us at 1-800-600-0007, or file a complaint or ask a question online if you have questions similar to these below:

     •   Can a debt management company or a debt settlement company help me?
     •   Is it true that sometimes a cashier’s check is not good?
     •   Should I pay a fee to apply for a loan?
     •   How can I clear up an old car title?
     •   Is a bank required to cash my check?
     •   What happens if I have a problem with my ATM card?
     •   Can the bank refuse to turn my coins into cash?
     •   Is my credit card company allowed to increase the interest it charges?
     •   Does my mortgage lender have to pay me interest on my escrow account?
     •   When can I withdraw money from my account after making a deposit?
     •   How can I prevent identity theft?
     •   What can you tell me about payday loans?
     •   Is it OK to use a lender who does business over the Internet?
     •   Who can I talk to about problems with my Food Stamps EBT card?
     •   Why is it important to pay my mortgage on or before the due date?
     •   How are my mortgage payments posted?
     •   What is the difference between simple interest and amortized interest?
     •   Is it true that you license repo men?
     •   Can the bank take money out of my account without warning because of something that
          happened with one of my children’s accounts?
     •   What happens when I finish paying off my mortgage?