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Consumer Advocate Groups Lament Excessive Bank Overdraft Fees

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Boca Raton, FLDespite the fact that the issue was addressed by Congress last year, a number of consumer advocate groups are up in arms again over excessive bank overdraft fees, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

The news source reports that a study conducted in June by the Consumer Federation of America found that the median overdraft fee at the largest 14 banks in the country still sits at $35, the same level as one year ago.

Additionally, in citing data from economic research firm Moebs Services, consumer advocate groups say that financial institutions, including national banks, are set to rake in approximately $38 billion in overdraft fees this year, representing an increase over the $35 billion last year and the $31 billion five years ago.

According to the news source, while the American Bankers Association has maintained that banks are obeying the laws, the controversy over such fees is increasing in Florida as well as the rest of the country, due to the fact that new regulations are being proposed and public comments are being sought.

Silvia Hall, a Boca Raton homeowner, is one citizen taking advantage of this period of public comments, the news source said. Hall has reportedly sent a comment to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, in which she asks for banks to stop charging overdraft fees for debit card transactions. Her reasoning behind this is that such requests can simply be declined when the banks do not have the funds to cover them.

"It's very, very abusive the way banks charge fees," Hall told the news source. "My opinion of banks now is very low. Instead of supporting business, making loans and helping the local economy, they know how to raise fees and squeeze the consumers."

Jean Ann Fox, with the Consumer Federation of America, agrees that such excessive overdraft fees are highly problematic. Fox told AZFamily that the practice itself is "mind-boggling."

"Banks put on a hard sell trying to convince customer that they should opt in to overdraft coverage just in case your car broke down on a back road," Fox explains. "So they frighten people into signing up for the most expensive kind of lending that a bank does."

Still, it at least appears that some banks are beginning to take the hint, as Bank of America says it no longer charges overdraft fees for purchases with debit cards, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

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For the month of January 2012 Desert Schools has charged us $455 in overdraft fees. Is this legal? I thought there was a limit on how much a bank could charge a customer for overdraft fees. $455 is an obscene amount and I don't see how Desert Schools can legally charge us that much money in one month.

Posted by

on
Here is a better one. Not only are they still charging the overfee's of $33 they do not even let you know until five days after you have the over draft. When you let them know that it is an over draft that was not authorized and you want it sent back, they will either send it back, but tell you that you have to get the over fee's back from the customer because it was not their fault that you were over charged it was the customer's. Nice. This is their way now to keep the over charged fee's and to charge you the over charges and over charges on over charges if you didn't have the money for the overcharges and the party refuses to pay you back. Or they will side with the unauthorized party and take the money out of your account, and when you ask for what they used to authorized the transaction they will refused to send you the documentation. Whose guardian are they. When you quote them the banking rules that they are your guardian and you have a right to refuse any transaction, they fluff you off. Especially since it was an electronic transaction that was dubious at the least. They had just rejected it the month before for the same thing. Are they nuts. They had cleared my rent check. This company tried to pull this withdrawal. Then they pulled my rent check back from the clearance and cleared this false once when I told them to send it back. They wanted me to wait until it cleared. I said why? So then they sent my rent back, held on to clear this one, and put my back account into the overage before sending this back. Put two checks into over fee's that were cleared before that. Figure that one out.

Posted by

on
name of survival and feed our chilodren we take it! we just bend over and take it! America is not free no more! Only the elite is aloud to practice and aquire rights and protection of the law...as long as the citizen is poor, well plain and simple "thier voice will not be heard" and will get poorer thus no hope of getting out! No hope for better. No matter if the person is smart, has a good heart, has good will, no matter if the person has any talent, no matter! its their credit score what counts, its the credit score what tells what kind of person you are! United States has bad credit, but don't matter their credit score! right! I rather be shoot and have a quick death than be torture on a slow death! as i see my home gone, my car gone, my credit score gone, jobs gone, my health gone, my family gone...what is left to be gone!!! my rights! I am not existant anymore! I have no value I do not matter anymore to anyone not even to God! Goodbye!

Posted by

on
I agree that banks frighten, give false security, confuse, and screw, screw, screw their customers for every dime they can. WellsFargo got me with their overdraft "PROTECTION" scam. The only thing that got protected when I linked my checking and savings account together with my debit card for overdraft protection was the banks pocket book. I was told as long as they were linked and I used my debit card there would be no overdraft as long as one of the accounts had funds. Not true not only was there a $10 transfer fee I still got charged the $35 OD fee. And the worse part of it was that I would use the debit card at their ATM and would select the account that had funds (withdrawl from savings or checking) and bank would always debit the account with no funds, not the account I choose such as debit from savings (or visa versa) and they would debit from checking which of course had no funds! I fought with them constantly on this issue to no avail. I finally gave up and quit using the account which at the last time I looked said I owed over $1000 in OD fees and transfer fees. I have just been ignoring them and they finally closed the account I have no idea what they say I owe them in stolen fees. And they also reorder transactions to create overdrafts some times posting first transactions made 5 to 7 days after other transactions I made at the bank in person. With todays technology there is no reason whatsoever for transactions not being date and timestamped and being posted in the exact order they occoured. This criminal activity needs to be stopped. We as consumers demand that we be protected and the laws be made to stop these practices and the finacial institutions be punished to the full extent of the law and consumers be rimbursed all charges plus covered for all the personal damage done to us.

Posted by

on
What kind of law is there out there that is supposed to have authority to punish banks who violate every and any regulation holding back any greed? I know there has been no COLA (Cost Of Living Increase) for Medicare or Social Security for 4 years now if I understand there will be no increase for 2012. The last NSF fee I had to pay was 29.00 and I thought that was excessive. Then they would send the check through two times so a $1 check could cost $29+$29+1 before I even knew anything about it. Then you are supposed to pay it back ASAP. I always have paid, not that I make a habbit. Seems to me if a bank charges any NSF fee, you should be able to take your time paying the fee as long as the check got paid. I guess I never read the fine print and I like everyone came from an era of time when I do what I am told, Have some respect and consideration for others, give back more than I take from society and a handshake was acceptable for an agreement. Time is money and no one values my time. I think everyone should do what I am doing and then for sure some of those fat cats would be wearing some holes in those itilian designer shoes. Keep your own cash. Do business with cash and do businee with only local and community businesses. Hang on to your own cash. Get large bills. Avoid having $20 bills because they will spend faster than if you have $100. It makes you think more than twice before make a impulsive purchase. Everyone has to do what they can to avoid those bank fees. Keep ur own cash. Do your own banking. Pay off the balance every month and avoid all fees. Do not charge. Do without. People on Medicare and social security have to do without when you can get a $12,000 incom tax credit if you have a mortgage of $750,000 in the United States of America. I think social security needs to pay more than minimum $697 per month. A tax credit to someone who qualified for a $750,000 can get $1,000 per month off their interest. Those banks got u coming and going. They are the ones making all that money. Y not give some to people who have worked hard all their lives and live on less than people get a tax credit every month. Get real. NSF fees is such a stupid little thing compaired to everything as a whole. People need to learn how to do things for themselves. We are not helpless and I sure know I can trust me.

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