October 19th, 2009
06:41 PM ET
13 years ago

Overdraft fees: Senate gets tough

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) - Senate leaders on Monday unveiled their proposal to tackle overdraft fees, the penalties banks charge customers who spend more than they have in their accounts.

Echoing legislation offered in the House by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., the Senate bill would require banks to ask customers before enrolling them in overdraft programs. In addition, like the House bill, it would limit the number of overdraft fees charged in a year.

Currently more than 75% of banks automatically sign customers up for overdraft programs, according to a study by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

"At a time when many can afford it least, American consumers are being hit with hundreds of dollars in penalties for overdrawing on their account by just a few dollars," said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Banking Committee. "Banks should not be trying to bolster their profits at the expense of their customers."

But the Senate's bill goes further than the House bill in several areas.

Full story on CNNMoney.com

Filed under: Senate
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Amazing

    When is the senate going to get tough on Tax cheat Charlie Rangel? Tax cheat Geithner making sure we pay our taxes............priceless!

    October 19, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  2. Stephen

    Take that to the bank! Nice to see the big guys looking out for us little guys!

    October 19, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  3. Ridgeway

    Wow! Imagine the fees on the bailout checks Obama is writing.

    October 19, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  4. Keith in Austin

    This sounds vaguely familiar! The Government telling the Banking Industry what they can and can't do! Meanwhile irresponsible deadbeats have the Government watching their backs as they write bad checks all over town. Can you say, Mortgage Industry Meltdown? The Government needs to keep their grimey fingers out of Corporate America and allow the private sector to thrive based on Capitalism NOT more Socialistic control of our lives!

    October 19, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  5. lila

    This is so needed. They hold back paying charges for weeks so that when you check your balance you think you have more money in the account than you do. If you over draft because your balance told you a wrong number the bank still charges you $35 each and every over draft. You can't trust banks. They are not looking out for you.

    October 19, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. Scott L

    Again Government swooping in to bailout consumers who OVERSPEND THEIR LIFESTYLE. This is getting ridiculous.

    Middle class Americans are quickly footing the bill for everyone else as Banks will just jack up fees in other places to make up the shortfall in revenue.

    Idiots running things now. Pure and plain simple idiots.

    October 19, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  7. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    I wish the Senate and House were as concerned about raising taxes on working families as much as they are the banks over draft. I wish they were as worried about upholding the laws, including immigration law, and holding the members of Congress to the same ethical standards as the rest of America is subject to. Also thanks to the dumbing down of eduction in America most people cannot even do the math to balance their check book.

    October 19, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  8. Tani in CA

    It's about time the Senate and Congress act on this. I can't stress how repulsed I was in the year and half time that I worked for BofA as a customer service rep. It was an absolute disgrace to watch these thugs charge people hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees over modest charges that put people over (simple transactions that could be as little as five bucks at the grocery store), and making matters worse by processing the largest transactions first over the smaller ones... this was intentionally done to charge people even more money on overdraft fees because they knew those types of transactions were more frequent and thus more likely to put people over. They have absolutely no shame in doing this even though it's the poor that get hit the hardest. It's absolutely disgusting and immoral! That's a huge part of the reason why I quit that job. I will never work for a major financial institution as long as I live.

    I hope the Congress version of the bill passes...

    October 19, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. Bob in Pa

    How about fixing what you screwed up in the Credit Card industry first Mr. Dodd ! Your style of feel good, act quick, don't read between the lines legislating has already put me on the brink of bankruptcy.

    October 19, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  10. MN in VA

    Mr. Dodd – Just set us up with the same treatrment you get at the Congressional Bank and while you are at it, can we get the same overdue tax deal and mortgage plan... oh and health insurance ...

    October 19, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. jules sand-perkins

    Fees and interest on overdrafts are high, yes, BUT:
    Do you know how easy it is to PREVENT overdrawing your account?
    Your balance is available online or on your cell.
    Check it before you spend next time.
    Even in you deposit a check that is returned unpaid, CHECK that it cleared before writing against it.
    I haven't overdrawn an account since...sometime in the 1980s.
    Just keep up with it.

    October 19, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. Jaxson

    American has become a pit of scams. No one here seems to have morals anymore.

    October 19, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  13. Jackie

    Hidden fees are everywhere....the consumer really doesn't stand a chance.

    October 19, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  14. JILL

    Greed has taken over America. Sad.

    October 19, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  15. Jenn, Philadelphia

    They might want to make it illegal for the banks to debit a check before crediting a deposit on the same day so they can charge the overdraft fee. And they might want to pass a bill that becomes effective immediately. Look what the credit card companies did prior to the new credit laws going into effect.

    October 19, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  16. TH

    The Senate shouldn't get involved in this. When is the Government going to stay out of the people's business? It shouldn't matter what the fees are. One's bank account should not be overdrawn. If you can't balance your bank account then maybe you shouln't have one. An overdraft fee is a penalty just as is a speeding ticket or parkingticket. Those are penalties for going over the speed limit or parking where you should not. An overdraft fee is for writing a check or spending money out of an account that does not have the money. This is a penalty! Live with it, Why do the democrats feel that if they don't like something it should be changed.

    October 19, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  17. Dood

    And these are the same people who were the overseers of fannie mae and freddie mac that caused this mess to start with. Now they are wanting to do something for the consumer.

    October 19, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  18. mjm

    How dare those banks charge you for writting checks your account can't cover!

    Does Chris Dodd have any clue how banks work?

    You have to have money in your account to cover your purchases. Otherwise the businesses that sold the goods and services suffer.

    This 'ought to REALLY help the economy...not so much.

    October 19, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  19. Kim

    BANK OF AMERICA charged me $35 for going over 50 cents. BANK OF AMERICA charged me another $35 for going over the $35 they charged me. In total they charged me $70 for going over 50 cents. They informed me if I don't pay in 5 days they will charge me another $35 and $35 for every 5 days until it's paid in full. BANK OF AMERICA IS A SCAM!!

    October 19, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  20. Gary 3

    I think that we need to set maximum interest rate of 12%, a maximum late fee of 1% per month, a maximum overdraft fee of $30. These fees are reasonable...banks will still earn a profit but they won't be allowed to overwhelm borrowers.

    October 19, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  21. A 50-year Democrat no more. Now an independent with brains.

    Yes they will hold up several postings on small checks to post the big ones first even though they come in last just to make you have numerous amounts of bank overdrafts when you should have only had one. WAY TO GO. THEY WILL ALSO HOLD UP DEPOSITS ON THE SAME DAY SO THIS WILL HAPPEN.

    October 19, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  22. yuri

    Bnaks do need a lot of bashin'-up for being a bully and treating the customers as cash cows.

    October 19, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  23. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    And just try to change banks to get away from those "extra" charges. Banks "talk to" each other when you open a new account at a different bank, plus it could be on your credit report....1984 is here, a bit late, but it's here.

    October 19, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  24. Julie

    The consumer is at risk more and more. What is American coming too??!

    October 19, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  25. Matt

    Come on US government, please let the American people be responsible. If we do something dumb, we need to pay the consequences. We don't need to be bailed out of everything.

    The government is seeking too much power and influence over our lives.

    October 19, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |