In Recent Class Actions, Banks and Credit Unions Have Been Forced to Pay Customers Back Over $1 Billion in Overdraft and NSF Fees

Banks and credit unions have been collecting billions of dollars in unfair overdraft and NSF fees from customers. In a trial against Wells Fargo Bank, co-tried by Richard McCune of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, the Judge called Wells Fargo’s overdraft practices “Profiteering and Gouging” in ordering the return of $203 million in overdraft fees to Wells Fargo’s California customers. Since that groundbreaking lawsuit, dozens of banks and credit unions have had to return a total of over a billion dollars in overdraft fees to their customers.


What Overdraft Practices are Bank or Credit Unions Doing that Could be Considered Illegal or Unfair?

Bank and especially credit unions used to make money by loaning their customers money and collecting interest on their loans. But as interest rates went lower and lower, the banks and credit unions turned to fees as a profit center. The most unfair fees are overdraft and NSF fees. Overdraft fees are charged when the bank or credit union claims the account is overdrawn and pays the item and then charges a fee. An NSF fee is when the bank or credit union returns the check or electronic transaction (called ACH) unpaid and charges a fee.

However, the fees charged are excessively high for the overdrafts. From 2000 to 2018, overdraft fees have gone from an average of $15 to an average of $30. Many banks and credit unions now charge as much as $37 for each overdraft, which is excessively high for providing what is really just a very short-term loan. If the banks called it a loan, they would have to disclose that it usually carries with it interest rates of thousands of percent. This has led to the $40.00 cup of coffee –  the bank turns a $4.00 cup of coffee into a $40.00 cup of coffee by deliberately authorizing a debit card into overdraft and then charging a high fee.

But, in addition to the excessively high amount of overdraft or NSF fees, the banks and credit unions have put in place practices to increase the number of overdrafts so they can charge an overdraft for each transaction. Some of these practices include:

  • Delay making available deposits until after transactions are posted.
  • Charging an overdraft fee on a transaction when there was enough money in the account to cover the transaction through using “available balance” to determine if it was an overdraft instead of the actual or current balance.
  • Reordering the transactions from the order in which they occurred to high-to-low in order to increase the number of transactions that are considered overdrafts.
  • Charging overdraft fees on bank authorized debit cards purchases by tricking the customers into “opting-in” to their overdraft program.
  • Charging multiple NSF or return fees for a single check or bill pay that was returned.
  • Charging an overdraft fee after the bank or credit union authorized the debit card transaction and there was money in the account.
  • Charging an overdraft fee for a transaction and then transferring money from another account only after the overdraft fee is assessed.
  • Having a high penalty fee each day the account is negative, often called a sustained overdraft fee. Not transferring money from another account (often a savings account) to prevent an overdraft, even though the customer signed up for Overdraft Protection.
  • Posting the amount for a check or bill pay that reduces the account balance below zero, and then charging overdraft fees on transactions that follow it before returning the check or ACH the next day.
  • Charging an overdraft fee of $30.00+, even though the transaction or the negative balance was less than $5.00. Not having a limit on the number of overdrafts charged each day.

How Do I Determine if My Bank or Credit Union is Engaged in Any of These Practices?

Banks and credit unions make it very difficult to determine what they are doing with their overdraft practices. First, the monthly statements listing all the transactions are often confusing and can be misleading. Second, the bank or credit union often tries to rely on technical defenses they bury in the middle of lengthy, dense legalese documents that no one is expected to read except the bank lawyers.

The best way to determine if you have been the victim of one of these illegal or unfair overdraft practices is to contact McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP at (800) 391-4233 and have one of their overdraft class action specialists review your statements or transaction history to see if you have been the victim of one of these illegal or unfair practices. If you have a substantial number of overdrafts or NSF fees, your bank or credit union is probably engaged in one of these practices.


Is There Any Cost or Risk in Contacting McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP?

Absolutely not. The overdraft class action specialist will review your transactions and advise you if you have a case. If you do have a potential class action case, and decide to go forward with a lawsuit, it will be on a contingency basis where attorney fees and costs are only paid if the lawyers win, and then the attorney fees and costs are awarded by the Court and paid out of any recovery made in the case.


Why McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP is the Right Firm for Your Potential Overdraft/NSF Fee Class Action Lawsuit

For almost 15 years, Richard McCune and McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP have been the leaders in the Country in class action overdraft litigation against banks and credit unions for unfair and illegal overdraft and NSF fee practices. They have helped customers of banks and credit unions collect more than $1 billion in settlements and verdicts, including being co-trial counsel in a $203 million verdict against Wells Fargo. They have been counsel in more than 50 class action overdraft cases filed in over 20 states Within just the last year, they have been lead counsel in a $70 million settlement against TD Bank, a $8.5 million settlement against People’s United Bank, an $8 million settlement against Bank of Hawaii, and a number of multi-million dollar plus settlements against credit unions. They have a long track history of success and have an overdraft class action team that is dedicated to holding banks and credit unions responsible for unfair and illegal overdraft practices.


What is the Best Way to Contact McCune Wright Arevalo?

The best way to contact McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP is to fill out the form and an overdraft class action specialist will contact you right back. We will send you a text prior to calling so you’re aware it is us calling. But if you would rather call us instead of filling out the form, please call (800) 391-4233.


What About if I Bank with Another Bank or Credit Union that I Think is Doing the Same Thing?

Please fill out the form and we will look into the bank or credit union and get back to you on whether we can help you.


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