Mega Banks Score Big Profits from Oppressive Overdraft Fees

Consumers least able to pay bear brunt of excessive service fees

Andy Spears
3 min readSep 22, 2022


Photo by Johny vino on Unsplash

As America’s largest banks testified before committees in the U.S. House and Senate this week, a new analysis by notes these same banks are profiting handsomely off of overdraft fees. Additionally, the nation’s big banks are increasingly embroiled in suits over defrauding customers.

Ahead of the testimony, a new analysis from Accountable.US has found that in the first half of 2022, just three of these “mega banks” — Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase — have together reported over $37 billion in net income while reaping $7.8 billion in revenue from service charges on consumers’ deposit accounts, including over $1.6 billion from overdraft fees. Meanwhile, these three banks have spent $25.7 billion on stock buybacks and shareholder dividends, representing 69.4% of their net income over this same period.

I’ve written before about the billions in revenue generated each year from bank overdraft fees.

Will Overdraft Fees Become a Thing of the Past? | by Andy Spears | Medium

Recent CFPB research showed that banks continue to rely heavily on overdraft and non-sufficient fund (NSF) fees, which cost Americans an estimated $15.5 billion in 2019.

Here’s a handy chart from earlier this year that shows bank overdraft fee policies.

In addition to this week’s hearings in Congress, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is also examining overdraft fees and working to push banks to eliminate them.

Is Relief from Overdraft Fees in Sight? | by Andy Spears | Medium

“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.”

The analysis also pointed out the various fraud cases against the big banks:

Making matters worse, these three banks (Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase) have faced at least $5.3 billion in fines and



Andy Spears

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