The 24 undersigned community, consumer, civil rights, and faith groups write regarding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or the Bureau)’s review of the 2009 Regulation E overdraft opt-in rule under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). Weakening the opt-in rule in any way is clearly unsupportable; rather, protections against unfair and abusive overdraft fees should be substantially strengthened.
Today’s overdraft fee practices undermine trust in this nation’s banking system, permitting banks to thrive by shattering the financial lives of their most vulnerable customers. Financial institutions assess overdraft fees when they choose to pay a customer’s transaction even when the customer’s account lacks sufficient funds. Historically, banks sometimes covered a customer’s paper checks as an occasional courtesy. But this courtesy has long since evolved into a fully automated, fee-generating scheme that costs Americans approximately $15 billion annually.