Consumers want legislation limiting overdraft fees, according to a report released last week.
"Changes to bank overdraft programs announced by some of the largest banks last fall have not cut the steep cost of overdraft fees or provided consumers real control over their checking accounts," said Jean Ann Fox, the director of financial services for the Washington trade group Consumer Federation of America.
Sixty-five percent of 1,015 consumers surveyed in January said they favored requiring bank overdraft fees to be related to the bank's cost of providing the service, and 86% supported requiring banks to disclose on automated teller machine screens when a withdrawal would cause an overdraft, according to the survey. The telephone survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corp. for the CFA.
The Federal Reserve banks announced new rules on Nov. 12 barring banks from charging overdraft fees at ATMs or on debit card transactions unless customers agree in advance to pay for exceeding account balances. Those rules take effect July 1.
Twelve of 15 banks surveyed in January charged at least $25 for an initial overdraft, the CFA said, and 13 of the banks charge at least $32 for a second overdraft.
U.S. Bancorp charged the lowest initial overdraft fee, $19. The highest fee came from the Citizens Financial Group Inc. unit of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, which levied $39 for the third overdraft in a year.