WASHINGTON — Banks need to revamp their customer service operations to encourage irate consumers to complain to them instead of turning to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where a complaint could spark added regulatory scrutiny.

In multiple speeches and public pronouncements, CFPB officials have aggressively urged consumers to file a complaint on the agency's public database, which has swelled to more than 200,000 complaints since going live in March. The agency uses that data to determine where it will focus its attention next, including both what regulations it writes and enforcement actions it takes against individual institutions.

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