WASHINGTON, DC  —  Today, government watchdog Accountable.US launched an ad campaign in support of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed rule limiting overdraft fees charged by banking institutions and credit unions to a range of $3 to $14, down from as much as $42. The digital ads—running throughout February on a network of news sites, entertainment apps, and weather apps in the Capitol Hill area—display the message, “Big Banks Charge Overdraft Fees to Rake in Billions. Be a bank lobbyist’s worst nightmare & learn more about their greed.”  Clicking the ad takes users to DefendAmericanConsumers.org for information on how the overdraft practice notorious for hidden and high-cost fees is designed to do only one thing: pad financial industry profits on the backs of consumers. 

Big bank CEOs and the Congressional Republicans in their pocket are desperate to convince consumers they should be grateful for price-gouging in the form of high-cost surprise overdraft charges. Anyone who’s paid a $42 overdraft fee or multiple penalties over a $2 item may strongly disagree."

Accountable.US’ Liz Zelnick

“Megabank lobbyists don’t want to talk about how they prey most on low-income communities and communities of color, who can afford these junk fees the least. They also omit that many companies that voluntarily ended their overdraft practices remain highly profitable. Bottom line: families are sick of being nickel and dimed with overdraft fees that serve no real purpose other than padding profits, ballooning CEO bonuses, and enriching wealthy investors,” added Zelnick.

Accountable.US’ ad campaign comes in response to the Consumer Bankers Association new misinformation website “highlighting the value of overdraft” fees and penalties despite the clear financial harm they inflict on millions of families. Meanwhile, Republican House Financial Services Chairman Patrick McHenry and Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)—who together have accepted over $1 million from the 10 largest banks still charging overdraft fees—were caught copy and pasting industry talking points in their public statement “blasting” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule. 

Before the proposed rule was even released, Republican members of the HFSC and Senate Banking Committee penned PR letters to CFPB Director Chopra spinning surprise overdraft fees as a practice that somehow does a favor to struggling working Americans. Despite industry misinformation, the Biden administration’s effort is expected to save everyday families $3.5 billion every year. 


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