Overdraft programs have grown rapidly in the last seven years, according to a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. study set to be released today.

The study, begun in 2006 to help officials establish policy related to the growth in such programs, said nearly 70% of institutions from a sample initiated a program after 2001. Large banks were more than 50% likely to have had a program already in place in 2001.

About 40% of the 1,171 banks participating in a FDIC survey used a program that automatically carried out overdraft transactions, the study found.

On average, banks with at least $1 billion of assets said they charged $5 more per transaction than smaller ones for the service. For all banks, the median amount charged was $27 per transaction.

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