Tuesday, July 11, 2023


Bank of America, N.A.

On July 11, 2023, the Bureau issued an order against Bank of America, N.A., which is a national bank headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina with branches and ATMs located in 38 states and the District of Columbia. When a consumer writes a check or authorizes an ACH transaction to a merchant or other payee using their deposit account at Bank of America, the merchant or other payee may then present that check or ACH authorization to the bank for payment. Until February 2022, if a consumer did not have sufficient funds in their account to pay for the transaction and the bank decided not to pay it, Bank of America assessed the consumer a $35 non-sufficient funds fee. Merchants commonly “re-present” these returned transactions—that is, they again try to receive payment—often multiple times. For many years, Bank of America assessed non-sufficient fund fees on ACH and check transactions that it returned unpaid even though it had already assessed a $35 fee for the same ACH or check transaction that it had previously returned unpaid (i.e., repeat non-sufficient fund fees). Bank of America would assess these repeat non-sufficient fund fees potentially as soon as the next day after the initial transaction. From September 2018 until February 2022, Bank of America generated hundreds of millions of dollars in such fees. The Bureau found that Bank of America’s assessment of repeat non-sufficient fund fees was unfair in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010. The Bureau’s order requires Bank of America to refund all repeat non-sufficient fund fees that it collected since September 2018 and has not yet refunded, totaling approximately $80.4 million in redress. The bank must also pay a $60 million civil penalty to the Bureau. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) concurrently issued an order against the Bank separately fining it $60 million.

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