Wednesday, September 23, 2009

BofA backs off overdraft charges

Posted By on Wed, Sep 23, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Last night, at UNC Charlotte, Joan Garton, the Assistant Vice President of Supervision and Regulation at the Federal Reserve of Richmond, spoke on this very topic.

She says Congress is concerned about overdraft protections and they're about to do something about it, which is awful swell of them.

Never mind that banks have been blasting their customers with overdraft fees for years. (Those of you living on the edge know what I'm talking about. You make one goof and all of a sudden you've got $250 worth of overdraft fees, which you can't afford since you're already broke.)

There's just nothing like a good old-fashioned economic crisis to get legislators to pay attention to giant corporations (who are, incidentally, more wealthy than most countries) and their me, me, me consumer policies.

Thank you, Great Recession. Thank you.

Now that you're here, let's pepper corporations with mountains of new rules. And while they're busy finding all of the loopholes, we can all pick at the edge of the Band-Aid and skip down the street with the knowledge that Congress loves us (during an election year).

But, let's be realistic for a second: You don't think BofA is sharing this "good" news now because of all of their recent negative publicity, do you? (Would a corporation do that?! Nooooo.)

I mean, couldn't they have dropped their crappy overdraft rules a long, long time ago in the spirit of good customer service? Sure they could have, but why do that if you don't feel like you absolutely have to? After all, overdraft fees mean big money for the biggest bank in the nation.

So, before you read about how BofA is playing nice today, check out these recent headlines (and these are just from this month!):

Bank of America misses congressional deadline

Cuomo subpoenas 5 Bank of America board members over Merrill Lynch deal

SEC going to trial against BofA over bonuses

Bank of America may face new fine over bonuses

Did I miss one?

Bank of America Corp. is making significant changes to its overdraft fee policies, as banks face increasing criticism and potential new laws around customer surcharges.

Starting Oct. 19, the Charlotte-based bank said Tuesday it will no longer charge overdraft fees if a customer's account is overdrawn by less than $10 per day. Previously, the bank charged a $10 fee if an account was overdrawn by less than $5 per day.

In addition, the bank said it will not charge overdraft fees on more than four instances per day. In the past, the cap was 10 per day. The fee stays at $35 per overdraft.

The bank also said that customers can visit a branch or call the bank to opt out of overdraft protection, meaning payments won't be made on their behalf if they don't have enough money in their accounts. The bank also plans more changes next year.

“I highly praise Bank of America, even if it's totally political,” Moebs said. “It's a huge step in the right direction.”

Read the rest of the article at Charlotte.com.

Now, this is just wrong ... BofA in Gaffney, S.C., removes American flags honoring fallen soldier:

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