TCF Financial has scored a partial victory in its ongoing legal battle with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over sales of its overdraft protection services.

A federal judge on Friday dismissed some of the CFPB’s claims against the Wayzata, Minn., company.

At issue in the case is whether TCF tricked customers into signing up for costly overdraft protection services. The CFPB sued the $22.1 billion-asset company in January, claiming it used shoddy and aggressive sales tactics — including allegedly withholding information from customers — to boost overdraft enrollment.

TCF relies more heavily on overdraft fees than most other banks its size and it is an aspect of the company's business model that investors have worried could make TCF a target for more heightened regulatory scrutiny.

Under the ruling, a district court judge in Minnesota tossed out the CFPB’s claims that TCF violated Regulation E — the Federal Reserve rule that requires banks to obtain consent from customers before enrolling them in overdraft protection.

But TCF isn’t out of legal hot water yet. The judge let stand some CFPB charges that TCF violated a key provision of the Dodd-Frank Act that prohibits companies from engaging in unfair and deceptive practices in selling consumer products.

The CFPB cannot assert claims under the Dodd-Frank statute prior to July 21, 2011, the day the law took effect, according to the ruling. The judge, however, denied TCF’s motion to dismiss the CFPB’s claims after that period.

TCF welcomed the judge’s decision and said it expects to prevail in its ongoing battle with the CFPB.

“Regarding the remaining allegations, which are now much narrower in scope because of this ruling, we remain confident that the way we provided our overdraft program to our customers complied at all times with the letter and spirit of applicable laws and regulations,” a company spokeswoman said in an email.

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Kristin Broughton

Kristin Broughton

Kristin Broughton is a reporter for American Banker, where she writes about the business of national and regional banking.