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Press Releases

April 4, 2011
We renew our call for bank regulators to do their job by protecting consumers from abusive debit card overdraft practices. Bankers' whining about minor reforms should not slow the progress of prudent banking policy. As the subprime mortgage fiasco shows, bad policy allows bad practices that hurt not only borrowers, but investors, taxpayers and the banks themselves. The FDIC has taken an important step by requiring, among other things, that banks inform their frequently overdrawn customers of cheaper overdraft alternatives. Its new guidance warns FDIC-supervised banks against allowing...
March 15, 2011
Some of the biggest banks in the nation still collect excessive fees from American families by encouraging overdrafts and manipulating their customers' accounts. Recent comments in the media suggesting that Americans overwhelmingly choose this costly product are suspect, in part because they overlook millions of customers at banks that do not offer the costly option for debit card transactions. These reports also ignore the impact of heavy-handed and deceptive marketing by banks who have sold costly overdraft "protection" as a beneficial program. Bank of America and Citibank, the #1 and #4...
November 24, 2010
Statement by CRL President Mike Calhoun: "Today the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. set a standard other regulators should follow when it issued guidelines advising banks to stop reordering transactions to maximize overdraft fees, particularly on debit cards. Unfair transaction posting—especially the practice of reordering checks and debit card transactions to deduct the largest checks and charges first—significantly increases the number of overdraft fees customers are charged. Customers are charged a separate fee—usually about $35 per item-for each charge that is posted to an overdrawn...
October 15, 2010
The American Bankers Association and industry consultants claim surveys show customers have "opted in" to high-fee debit card overdraft coverage because they want this service. But these surveys likely only show the success of aggressive, deceptive marketing campaigns to steer customers into bad products, not true customer preference. Industry-sponsored survey results would be more credible if banks and credit unions actually gave customers the information they need to make informed choices. But instead, too many banks and credit unions do the following: Do NOT tell customers they...
October 13, 2010
The Honorable John Walsh Acting Comptroller Office of the Comptroller of the Currency 250 E Street, SW Washington, DC 20219-001 Dear Acting Comptroller Walsh: As banks continue their campaigns to persuade consumers to agree to pay steep fees for debit card overdrafts, we urge the Office of Comptroller of the Currency to adopt stricter guidance that effectively requires banks to use fair overdraft practices and fully inform consumers. In the past several months, our organizations filed comments in dockets opened by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS)[i] and the FDIC[ii] to update and...
August 11, 2010
"American families, especially those most vulnerable financially, could save millions of dollars a year in costly overdraft fees if guidelines the FDIC proposed today are adopted. The guidelines would encourage the banks the FDIC oversees to offer customers lower-cost overdraft alternatives rather than charge unlimited high-cost overdraft fees—as many banks do, even on small debit card transactions. Under the proposal, a bank would contact a customer who incurs six overdraft fees within 12 months and offer—and explain—less costly options. The bank would be encouraged to provide the...
August 5, 2010
As the August 15th deadline nears for bank and credit union customers to opt in to high-cost overdraft programs, a new CRL analysis finds these firms market most aggressively and often misleadingly to their most vulnerable customers. Banks target these customers because they likely live on the edge financially and therefore are most likely to repeatedly overdraw accounts. To induce these customers to accept overdraft coverage, many marketing campaigns use scare tactics or incomplete information. For example, they fail to emphasize customers can have debit card transactions declined at no cost...
June 30, 2010
Washington, D.C.— Starting tomorrow, banks must obtain permission from new customers before enrolling them in costly overdraft coverage for debit-card transactions. The Federal Reserve Board's new rule improves the status quo but still falls far short of what's needed: Banks should not be allowed to impose exorbitant charges that bear no reasonable connection to the overdraft amount or a lender's cost for making the loan. Banks also continue to pile on overdraft charges, including by manipulating transactions to maximize the number of fees they hit customers with each day. In...
February 24, 2010
A key federal regulator for years has let national banks engage in lending practices that the regulator itself admits harm consumers and lenders, according to two new reports from the Center for Responsible Lending. (For the full reports go to: http://qa.crl.w.lmdagency.net/research-publication/mainstream-banks-making-payday-loans and http://www.responsiblelending.org/research-publication/national-bank-regulator-enabled-overdraft-abuses) The reports focus on two of many areas in which the regulator—the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or OCC—has fallen down on the job: payday...
December 11, 2009
Statement from Michael Calhoun President of the Center for Responsible Lending Washington, D.C. – "We are very pleased the U.S. House of Representatives has taken an important step toward restoring our country's financial stability by voting to pass the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 4173). The bill would provide consumers with significant protections from the industry practices that dismantled our economy and those of countries around the world. We commend the House for this vote to protect families and small business from unfair, unsafe financial...

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