Consumer Finance Group Applauds CFPB Overdraft Study, Calls for Action

Americans for Financial Reform Wants an End to “Abusive” Practice

Andy Spears


As one major bank — Capital One — announced an end to the practice of charging overdraft fees, a leading consumer group is issuing a call for federal action to end the practice at all banks.

Americans for Financial Reform (AFR)is calling on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to use data from a study it conducted to draft rules that would essentially prohibit overdraft fees.

CFPB research in 2017 found that 79% bank overdraft and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees are borne by only 9% of accounts. Frequent overdrafters tend to have low end-of-day balances, low or moderate credit scores, and low or moderate monthly deposits.

Candace Archer, Consumer and Payday Campaigns Manager at AFR outlined the organization’s position:

We appreciate the work of the CFPB on drawing attention to the harms of overdraft fees, which take billions of dollars a year out of the pockets of mostly low- and moderate-income households to pad the bottom lines of the country’s big and small banks. And among those households, Black and Latinx households were also far more likely to incur overdrafts. We urge the CFPB to use all the tools that Congress gave it to protect consumers from abuses, including drafting tough new regulations.

Archer indicated the study offers clear direction and the time is now for action.

We cannot simply hope that banks stop abusing their most vulnerable customers. There is much work for the CFPB to do.

CFPB Director Rohit Chopra has indicated a willingness to further explore the issue and possible regulatory action.

“Rather than competing on quality service and attractive interest rates, many banks have become hooked on overdraft fees to feed their profit model,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “We will be taking action to restore meaningful competition to this market.”

Photo by Jonathan Cooper on Unsplash

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Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .