Question 4: What can DFI do in response to a consumer complaint?
DFI can investigate and take certain actions only against those institutions within DFI's regulatory jurisdiction (see answer to Question 1: " What Institutions Can DFI Investigate?").
If DFI has jurisdiction over the institution, DFI can direct the institution:
- to discontinue violation of a law administered by DFI, namely the Code of Financial Institutions codified in Chapter 412, HRS, Chapter 449, HRS, which relates to escrow depositories, or Chapter 489D, HRS, which relates to money transmitters;
- to discontinue violation of an administrative rule administered by DFI , namely Chapters 16-24, 16-25, 16-26, 16-27, 16-28, and 16-31, Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR);
- to discontinue any unsafe or unsound practice; or
- to cease conducting business in an unsound or unsafe manner.
DFI cannot litigate or seek monetary redress on behalf of individual complainants. DFI cannot serve as an arbitrator of private disputes and cannot determine contractual rights and obligations between an institution and an individual. DFI also cannot render opinions or interpretations to individuals so as to determine an individual's rights against an institution.
While DFI will make every effort to help address consumer complaints, there are situations and transactions that are beyond the jurisdiction of DFI. For some complaints, particularly those involving the denial of loans, improper handling of checks, or the failure to disburse funds under a loan agreement, a consumer may need to consult an attorney about pursuing civil remedies.