Even during the best economic times, overdraft fees are a tremendous drain on working families and often cause irreparable harm. The fees compound into hundreds per year for banks’ most financially distressed account holders and some even end up spending over a thousand dollars in overdraft fees. They drive people out of the banking system altogether, which disproportionately harms people of color, who are already far more likely to be unbanked than white Americans. During this period of sustained un- and under-employment, overdraft fees could exponentially increase, siphoning off consumers’ stimulus funds and creating an unintended windfall for banks. For the good of families and the broader economy, Congress should halt bank overdraft fees during the COVID-19 crisis.
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