09/29/2009 - Controversial bank account fees, which have fattened banks' bottom lines at the expense of vulnerable consumers, are rapidly becoming a black eye for the industry.
Under siege are the fees charged to consumers who spend more than they have in their accounts, whether by check, debit card or at the ATM.
Last week, four of the nation's largest banks said they would scale back some of their overdraft policies. Their efforts, while meaningful, have failed to appease lawmakers, including powerful Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who is preparing legislation to crack down on what he calls a pattern of "abusive" practices.
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Banks have already found ways to minimize the impact of credit card reform passed earlier this year by Congress. Even before the ink was dry on the law, banks raised rates for a broad spectrum of new and existing credit card borrowers. In the first two quarters of 2009, the lowest advertised credit card rates rose by 20%, even as banks' funding costs declined, Pew Charitable Trusts says.
Read the full article Anger at Bank Overdraft Fees Gets Hotter, Bigger and Louder on USA Today's Web site.
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Safe Credit Cards Project on PewHealth.org.