WASHINGTON — An expanded database of complaints that consumers have filed against large financial institutions went public Thursday, but the debate over whether the new treasure trove of information helps or hurt banks is just beginning.

On one hand supporters of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's online complaint portal, which grew nearly fivefold Thursday, say the database is already making institutions more sensitive to consumers and efficient in responding to complaints. But others complain that some banks do not deserve the obvious reputational risk from public information — much of which has not been verified — about their quality of customer service.

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