Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced the issuance of an advisory opinion to prohibit large banks from charging customers for basic information on their own accounts. The opinion cited federal law, which requires that big banks and credit unions must provide complete and accurate information when requested by accountholders.
“While small relationship banks pride themselves on customer service, many large banks erect obstacle courses and impose junk fees to answer basic questions,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “While the biggest banks have abandoned the relationship banking model, federal law still requires them to answer certain customer inquiries completely, accurately and in a timely manner.”
The CFPB also announced the results of its efforts to crack down on bad behavior by big banks, claiming it has returned $140MM to consumers and saved American $2 billion per year in NSF fees. “Our investigations have uncovered major misconduct at the nation’s largest banks. We caught Wells Fargo and Regions Bank in a multi-year surprise overdraft fee scam,” Director Chopra said. “By manipulating how payments were processed, the banks even charged people multiple overdraft fees in a single day, rather than just one. At Bank of America, we found a nationwide double-dipping scheme, where the bank charged multiple fees for the same transaction. Our junk fee enforcement actions have led to hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds for people across the country.”