CRL Report Targets Bank, CU Overdraft Fees

August 1, 2013
Credit Union Times  
overdraft news

Banks and credit unions are still charging abusive overdraft fees, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) declares in its report, “High Cost Overdraft Practices.” In 2010, the FDIC suggested to financial institutions that more than six overdraft charges per year is excessive. Despite this guideline, the CRL report found that two-thirds of all debit-card penalty fees come from accounts that are charged more than six fees annually. Additionally, many banks still use “reordering,” a process in which the largest withdrawals are posted first, rather than posting them in the order they are received. Manipulating the order of transactions can trigger overdraft fees that might not have occurred otherwise. Debit-card transactions were found to trigger the most expensive fees, with a median charge of $35 for a $20 overdraft. Debit-card purchases and ATM transactions combined make up at least 35 percent of all overdraft fees. These penalties can disproportionately impact people of color, seniors, young adults, and military families. In testimony to a Senate Special Committee on Aging in July, CRL’s Rebecca Bornè told legislators that seniors are particularly vulnerable to deceptive lending practices because they often have regular Social Security income and have growing medical and living expenses.
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