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Biden slashes big bank overdraft fees: it ends exploitation, president claims.

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TLDR:
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has proposed new rules to slash overdraft fees charged by big banks. Americans have paid an estimated $280 billion in overdraft fees since 2000, while major banks have seen their profits increase. The proposed changes, set to take effect in October 2025, would save Americans about $3.5 billion annually and benefit lower income bank customers the most. The rules would require clear disclosures and limit the amount banks can charge for overdraft fees. However, banking groups and some lawmakers argue that the rules would limit a service that many financially vulnerable Americans rely on.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has proposed new rules that would significantly reduce the fees that big banks charge customers for overdrawing their accounts. Americans have paid an estimated $280 billion in overdraft fees since 2000, while major banks have observed increased profits. President Joe Biden has criticized these exorbitant fees, describing them as exploitation.

The proposed changes are part of the Biden administration’s broader effort to address “junk” fees across various industries. The CFPB estimates that overdraft fees affect around 23 million households each year, and the new rules would save Americans approximately $3.5 billion annually. The rule change specifically targets lower income bank customers, with Consumer Reports stating that 8% of bank customers generate nearly 75% of bank revenue from overdraft fees.

The proposed rules would require banks with $10 billion or more in assets to treat overdraft coverage the same way as credit cards and other loans. This means banks must provide transparent disclosures and limit fees in the first year. The new rules would also restrict the amount banks charge for overdraft fees, either aligning them with the costs incurred by the banks or mandating a benchmark fee of between $3 and $14.

The new rules have received mixed reactions. Some believe that the rules would limit access to emergency funds for financially vulnerable Americans who rely on overdraft services to make ends meet. However, only 22% of households expected their most recent overdraft, according to a CFPB survey, and many of those charged had access to cheaper alternatives. Critics argue that the rules would raise the cost of banking for all consumers, diminish financial inclusion, and stifle innovation.

The proposed changes are now subject to a lengthy regulatory approval process, during which the public can provide feedback. If approved, the new rules would take effect in October 2025.

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