Financial Institutions Responding To Pending Overdraft Rules

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LAKE BLUFF, Ill.-With a July 1 deadline looming for new rules affecting overdraft protection programs, more than 700 financial institutions have launched such programs this year, although a substantial number have also exited the business, according to a new analysis.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the same analysis found that 44% of U.S. banks and CUs have also changed their pricing on overdraft protection programs since 2009, according to Moebs $ervices, which reviewed pricing at more than 2,000 institutions. "Since the fourth quarter of last year, more banks and credit unions initiated an overdraft program for the first time than stopped offering it," said Michael Moebs, economist and CEO of Moebs $ervices. "We conducted surveys last November, when overdraft regulations were announced, in March of this year, and just recently in May. In March, Bank of America and Citibank announced substantial curtailment of their overdraft programs."

Moebs analysis when projected to all 12,000 banks and credit unions offering checking with some type of overdraft service, suggests approximately 850 institutions (7.1%) are getting into overdrafts for the first time, while about 770 (6.4%) have dropped the product.

Effective July 1 for all new customers/members, anyone participating in overdraft protection, also known as courtesy pay, must have "opted in" to the service. For existing account-holders, the law goes into effect Aug. 15.

According to Moebs, a "surprising" result in the survey is that 6.5% of banks and credit unions surveyed have decreased the price of an NSF or overdraft. "We've been collecting bank and credit union price information for almost 30 years and rarely get half of 1% who lower their NSF or OD price," said Moebs. "These price decreases are significant."

Moebs $services found the average price of an NSF is $26.25 and for an overdraft is $27.01. Those increasing their prices are charging $29.31 for an NSF and $30.02 for an overdraft. Banks and CUs decreasing prices charge $23.29 for an NSF and $24.83 for an overdraft."That's a $5 to $6 difference between those who increased the price and those who decreased the price," said Moebs. "This shows consumers are being given more choices."

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