Overdraft revenue at banks, thrifts, and credit unions hit $32 billion in 2012, up 1 percent from 2011, reports Moebs Services. The total represents the first increase since 2009, when financial institutions raked in $37.1 billion in from overdraft fees. The steepest penalties are found at the biggest banks; those with greater than $25 billion in assets charged consumers a median $35 for overdrawing their accounts, $10 more than banks with fewer than $100 million in assets. The median fee across banks is $30, up by $1 since 2009; and the median fee at credit unions is up $2 to $27 over the same period. According to Moebs, heavy regulation in 2010 and 2011 drove down overdraft revenues for those years; but activity levels during 2012's relatively stable regulatory climate show that consumer use of overdrafts is actually growing. The research additionally noted that the strong consumer push-back on the practice of processing debits from highest amount to lowest has driven the number of institutions engaging in it down from 19.9 percent in 2009. Nearly 14 percent of banks, thrifts, and credit unions are still employing high-to-low reordering, however, largely because of the huge expense of overhauling banking computer systems to accommodate changes.
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