There are many agencies in the U.S. on both the federal and state level that regulate and oversee members of the financial services industry. Each agency has its own duties and responsibilities. While there is some debate about the efficiency of these agencies, they do provide value to our financial system along with consumer resources. Following are the main financial service regulatory agencies:
State bank regulators operate similarly to the OCC, but at the state level for state-chartered banks. Their oversight works in conjunction with the Federal Reserve and the FDIC.
The mission of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is to foster open, transparent, competitive, and financially sound markets. By working to avoid systemic risk, the Commission aims to protect market users and their funds, consumers, and the public from fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices related to derivatives and other products that are subject to the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).
Learn more about the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulates the offering and provision of consumer financial products or services under the federal consumer financial laws and educates and empowers consumers to make better informed financial decisions.
Can’t fix a problem with a financial product or service? Submit a complaint. The CFPB will work to get you a response from the company.
Learn more about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent agency created by the Congress to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation's financial system by:
- Insuring deposits.
- Examining and supervising financial institutions for safety and soundness and consumer protection.
- Making large and complex financial institutions resolvable. and
- Managing receiverships.
Deposits Insured by the FDIC:
The Federal deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC, insures all types of deposits—CD's, checking, savings, money market, and NOW accounts—held in all FDIC-insured depository institutions, including national banks and federal savings associations. The permanent standard insurance amount is $250,000, per depositor, per insured depository institution for each account ownership category. For more information about deposit insurance, visit the FDIC's Web site. Bankers and consumers can also call the FDIC at 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342).
Learn more about the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
The Federal Reserve System is the central bank of the United States. It performs five general functions to promote the effective operation of the U.S. economy and, more generally, the public interest. The Federal Reserve:
- conducts the nation’s monetary policy to promote maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates in the U.S. economy;
- promotes the stability of the financial system and seeks to minimize and contain systemic risks through active monitoring and engagement in the U.S. and abroad;
- promotes the safety and soundness of individual financial institutions and monitors their impact on the financial system as a whole;
- fosters payment and settlement system safety and efficiency through services to the banking industry and the U.S. government that facilitate U.S.-dollar transactions and payments; and
- promotes consumer protection and community development through consumer-focused supervision and examination, research and analysis of emerging consumer issues and trends, community economic development activities, and the administration of consumer laws and regulations.
Learn more about the Federal Reserve System (“The Fed").
The mission of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering and promote national security through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities.
Learn more about the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation of broker-dealers. FINRA is not part of the government. They are a not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress to protect America’s investors by making sure the broker-dealer industry operates fairly and honestly. FINRA does this by:
- writing and enforcing rules governing the activities of all registered broker-dealer firms and registered brokers in the U.S.;
- examining firms for compliance with those rules;
- fostering market transparency; and
- educating investors.
* BrokerCheck: BrokerCheck is a free tool to research the background and experience of financial brokers, advisers and firms. BrokerCheck helps you make informed choices about brokers and brokerage firms-and provides easy access to investment adviser information. BrokerCheck tells you instantly whether a person or firm is registered, as required by law, to sell securities (stocks, bonds, mutual funds and more), offer investment advice or both. BrokerCheck gives you a snapshot of a broker's employment history, regulatory actions, and investment-related licensing information, arbitrations and complaints.
Go to your state securities regulator to do additional research on brokers and investment advisers.
BrokerCheck does not have information regarding civil litigation not involving investments, civil protective orders, criminal matters that are not felonies, or misdemeanors that are not investment-related or do not involve theft or a "breach of trust." Consider doing an internet search to check for that type of information.
Learn more about Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
The following are links to the State Insurance departments:
Provides, through regulation and supervision, a safe and sound credit union system, which promotes confidence in the national system of cooperative credit.
Federally insured credit unions offer a safe place for you to save your money, with deposits insured up to at least $250,000 per individual depositor. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is the independent agency that administers the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). Like the FDIC's Deposit Insurance Fund, the NCUSIF is a federal insurance fund backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. The NCUSIF insures member savings in federally insured credit unions, which account for about 98 percent of all credit unions in the United States. Deposits at all federal credit unions and the vast majority of state-chartered credit unions are covered by NCUSIF protection, and not one penny of insured savings has ever been lost by a member of a federally insured credit union.
NCUA Resource: To determine if your credit union is federally insured, you can use the Research a Credit Union tool located here.
Learn more about the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
The mission of the NAIC is to assist state insurance regulators serve the public interest and achieve the following fundamental regulatory goals in a responsive, efficient and cost-effective manner, consistent with the wishes of its members:
- promote competitive markets
- facilitate the fair and equitable treatment of insurance consumers
- promote the reliability, solvency and financial solidity of insurance institutions
- support and improve state regulation of insurance
State Insurance Departments: Links to each state insurance department are located at the bottom of this page.
Learn more about the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
NFA is the industrywide, self-regulatory organization for the U.S. derivatives industry. Designated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as a registered futures association, NFA strives every day to safeguard the integrity of the derivatives markets, protect investors and ensure Members meet their regulatory responsibilities.
* Conduct Due Diligence - BASIC is a free tool that Members and investors can use to research the background of derivatives industry professionals. Whether you are an investor thinking about opening a futures account or an NFA Member contemplating a new business relationship, BASIC can be a valuable resource.
Learn more about the National Futures Association (NFA).
The OCC charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks and federal savings associations as well as federal branches and agencies of foreign banks. The OCC is an independent bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The OCC’s mission is to ensure that national banks and federal savings associations operate in a safe and sound manner, provide fair access to financial services, treat customers fairly, and comply with applicable laws and regulations.
Help for Customers of National Banks and Federal Savings Associations:
The OCC operates www.helpwithmybank.gov to assist customers of national banks and federal savings associations. helpwithmybank.gov provides answers to common banking questions and provides a means for consumers to file complaints online.
Learn more about The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), is the successor to the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. OTS was established by Congress on August 9, 1989 as the primary federal regulator of all federal and state-chartered savings institutions across the nation that belong to the Savings Association Insurance Fund (SAIF). OTS issues federal charters for savings and loan associations and savings banks. This Bureau also adopts and enforces regulations to ensure that both federal and state-chartered thrift institutions operate in a safe and sound manner. It is funded solely by the institutions it regulates. The OTS is similar to the OCC except that it regulates federal savings associations, also known as thrifts or savings and loans.
Learn more about the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS).
The mission of the SEC is to protect investors; maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitate capital formation. The SEC strives to promote a market environment that is worthy of the public's trust.
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy issues Investor Alerts & Bulletins as a service to investors. Investor Alerts typically warn investors about the latest investment frauds and scams. Investor Bulletins tend to educate investors about investment-related topics including the functions of the SEC.
Check your investment professional (here)
SEC Action Lookup - Individuals (SALI) - (here). You can find information about individuals that have been named in SEC court actions or administrative proceedings and had judgments or orders issued against them.
Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) - (here). Search your investment professional's background. Enter their name in our Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) website to see if they're registered. It's a red flag if they're not! You can also check out whether they’ve ever been in trouble with securities regulators.
Learn more about the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)