WASHINGTON, DC — Today, government watchdog Accountable.US released new analysis detailing the excessive profits banks have collected through overdraft and nonsufficient funds fees (NSF), and ongoing efforts from the financial industry to combat the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s cost-lowering junk fee initiatives.
Overdraft fees cost families billions of dollars in 2023 alone—fees that we know disproportionately affect low-income Americans. While megabanks pretend these fees are for our benefit, the truth is that they are nothing more than a profit-driving tactic. By cracking down on corporate greed and limiting overdraft fees, the Biden administration continues to lower costs across the nation no matter how hard banking lobbyists defend their shadiest practices.”
Liz Zelnick, Director Of Accountable.US’ Economic Security & Corporate Power Program.
Among the findings reported this morning in POLITICO’s Morning Money, the 10 largest banks still using overdraft fees raked in over $2.34 billion from the practice in 2023 as of September 2023. These banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, have also paid billions in fines and restitution over the years for exploiting consumers with overdraft fees.
On Monday, the Consumer Bankers Association launched a new website claiming that overdraft fees are a convenient innovation that “save consumers money,” despite the fact that the Biden administration’s efforts to rein in junk fees has and will continue to return billions to American families.
Those arguments are just the tip of the iceberg. Even before the website launch, the banking industry has fought tooth and nail to oppose the CFPB’s efforts. As of Q3 2023, the Consumer Bankers Association spent $2.65 million in 2023 while lobbying against the “Overdraft Protection Act of 2021” and “issues related to overdraft fees.” Meanwhile, the American Bankers Association more than doubled this output, spending $6.43 million while opposing similar legislation aimed at cracking down on overdraft fees.
A recently released national survey commissioned by Accountable.US as part of its Defend American Consumers campaign found Americans overwhelmingly believe the Biden administration efforts cracking down on price gouging by banning junk fees will lower their costs.