Where do happiest bank customers live?

Why do bank customers living in some areas of the country seem to be happier than living in the others? Why is Florida, along with other five East Coast states, leading the rating of customer complaints by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

We combined data on bank customer complaints with the population data and found some very intriguing results.

Here’s a short list of the cities with the least satisfied bank customers – “unhappy 10” (by number of complaints for every 1000 population):

  1. Atlanta, GA – 5.5 complaints per 1000 population
  2. Fort Lauderdale, FL – 5.3
  3. Fort Worth, TX – 4.9
  4. Washington DC area (with MD and VA suburbs) – 4.7
  5. Miami, FL – 4.3
  6. Charlotte, NC – 4.1
  7. Orlando, FL - 4.07
  8. Jacksonville, FL – 3.9
  9. Baltimore, MD- 3.6
  10. SanDiego, CA – 3.4


If you want to see the bright side, here’s a “happy 10” of cities with satisfied bank clients:

  1. El Paso, TX – 1.1 complaints per 1000 population
  2. Bakersfield, CA – 1.5
  3. Fresno, CA - 1.6
  4. Oklahoma City, OK – 1.6
  5. Salt Lake City, UT – 1.7
  6. Louisville, KY – 1.8
  7. Omaha, NE – 1.8
  8. Indianapolis, IN – 1.8
  9. Albuquerque, NM – 2
  10. Saint Paul, MN - 2


If you look at the map, it makes clear that the regions from “unhappy 10” are mostly located on the East Coast, when the “happy 10” regions are more geographically spread across the country.


Going down the rabbit hole

That seemed interesting and we decided to look at the data on a state level.

Feel free to point on the map to see your state data. The darker the color gets, the more bank customers complain in the state. 




The leaders are:

  1. DC – with its 6.9 complaints per 1000 population it is a national leader
  2. DE -  4.2
  3. MD – 4
  4. FL – 3.6
  5. NJ – 3.3


Understanding the patterns

So why do people in some areas of the country seem to be more unhappy with their banks?

We can only guess. DC with a big part of MD as its suburb is a home for a large population of lawyers and government employees who may have a better understanding of the banking regulations, or just a culture of filing a formal complaint when they feel like it.  

NJ also can be accounted for a great majority of banking and finance professionals, who definitely know what is the best way to deal with a bank or a financial institution.

Wait, but why Florida? How did a sunny state made it in our “unhappy 5” of the states?

I have only one guess here: the folks from DC, MD and NJ often move to sunny Florida for retirement, taking all their experience, culture, and bank accounts with them. Alternatively, it might be just a statewide program of customer’s awareness that made FL such an outlier.   

Why people complain most

Here are the main reasons of the bank customer complaints by percentage:



We can see that the biggest chunk of problems comes with the mortgage with about 40% of complaints. Credit reporting and credit cards are the 2nd and 3rd with numbers close to 13% each.


We would like to have a discussion here. Are you happy with your bank? Do you think filing a complaint can help? Please, feel free to express yourself in the comments.



We are really obsessed with data. We try to mix and match all the data we get our hands on, and sometimes we get something interesting.

This week we decided to combine the data on customer complaints from US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (which collects bank customer complaints through its website http://www.consumerfinance.gov/) with the US population data to see if there is any pattern.


  1. US Census 2010 Population Data. http://www.census.gov/
  2. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Consumer Complaint Database. http://www.consumerfinance.gov/

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