Maloney Highlights New CFPB Research on Predatory Overdraft Fees Urges Passage of Overdraft Protection Act of 2021

Dec 1, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) highlighted new research from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) examining banks’ predatory overdraft fees and called for the passage of her legislation, the Overdraft Protection Act of 2021. The CFPB also stated that they will be enhancing its supervisory and enforcement scrutiny of banks that are heavily dependent on overdraft fees. This announcement comes five weeks after Congresswoman Maloney pressed CFPB Director Rohit Chopra to crack down on overdraft fees at a Financial Services Committee hearing.

 

“Today’s research underscores the profound harm overdraft fees inflict on U.S. consumers, and I welcome the CFPB’s enhanced scrutiny of banks in this area. These fees are predatory and an influential driver of racial inequity, taking billions of dollars out of the pockets of those Americans who can afford it the least,” said Rep. Maloney. “It’s not right for a $10 sandwich at a bodega to cost $50 due to overdraft charges. My Overdraft Protection Act would stop these abusive practices once and for all.”

 

The CFPB research found that banks continue to rely heavily on overdraft and non-sufficient funds (NSF) revenue, which reached an estimated $15.47 billion in 2019. Three banks—JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America—brought in 44% of those total fees amongst large banks. Further, the CFPB found that these overdraft and NSF fees made up close to two-thirds of reported fee revenue, demonstrating banks’ heavy reliance on these sources of fees.

 

Previous CFPB research has shown that overdraft presents serious risks to consumers, with under 9% of consumer accounts paying 10 or more overdrafts per year, accounting for close to 80% of all overdraft revenue.

 

Background

Congresswoman Maloney introduced H.R. 4277, the Overdraft Protection Act of 2021, earlier this year. This legislation would:

  • Require that fees be “reasonable and proportional” to the cost of processing these transactions and the amount of the overdraft;
  • Prevent institutions from re-ordering transactions to artificially increase their fees;
  • Limit the number of fees they can charge to 1 per month and 6 per year;
  • Empower consumers by requiring that they proactively opt-in to overdraft programs in the first place – rather than automatically being enrolled;
  • Improve transparency and disclosures; and
  • Prohibit charging overdraft fees for “debit holds” that exceed actual transaction amounts, among other strong measures.

The Overdraft Protection Act builds on the progress made under Congresswoman Maloney’s Credit CARD Act of 2009, which saves consumers roughly $12 billion per year. A 2015 CFPB study estimated that this legislation saved consumers $16 billion dollars in the first years of its enactment.

 

On October 27, 2021, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), questioned Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra on issues in today’s credit card marketplace, and pushed the CFPB to end predatory overdraft fees.

You can watch their full exchange here.

 

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