Policy Changes Will Also Reduce Overdraft Charges
Wells Fargo announced this week that it is eliminating non-sufficient funds fees and taking steps to reduce overdraft charges. The move comes as other major banks — including Bank of America and Capital One — take steps to reduce or eliminate overdraft charges.
Wells Fargo outlined the following moves that will result in a less fee-heavy banking experience for customers:
By the end of the first quarter, customers will no longer pay a returned item fee if Wells Fargo returns a check or electronic transaction unpaid because the customer does not have enough available funds in the deposit account to cover the payment
Customers who overdraw their deposit account will have 24 hours to cover the overdraft before incurring an overdraft fee. The 24-hour grace period is expected to be offered in the third quarter.
The bank says the moves are designed to give customers more flexibility in managing their finances.
“Today’s changes are meant to improve our customers’ experience with Wells Fargo and make it easier for them to manage their bank accounts,” Mary Mack, CEO of Wells Fargo Consumer and Small Business Banking, said. “Embedding the customer perspective directly into our decision-making has been a consistent focus for Wells Fargo over the past several years.”
While Wells Fargo says it is focusing on customers, the changes are similar to those being implemented at other large banks and come at a time when federal regulators are taking a closer look at bank overdraft policies.
“Rather than competing on quality service and attractive interest rates, many banks have become hooked on overdraft fees to feed their profit model,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “We will be taking action to restore meaningful competition to this market.”
Consumer advocates are cheering the move that is now sweeping the banking industry.
Candace Archer of Americans for Financial Reform indicated that her organization believes serious action is required:
We appreciate the work of the CFPB on drawing attention to the harms of overdraft fees, which take billions of dollars a year out of the pockets of mostly low- and moderate-income households to pad the bottom lines of the country’s big and small banks. And among those households, Black and Latinx households were also far more likely to incur overdrafts. We urge the CFPB to use all the tools that Congress gave it to protect consumers from abuses, including drafting tough new regulations.