Bank of America Announces a New Plan for Taking Money from Those Who Can Least Afford It

Recently, Bank of America announced a new debit card where card holders will be charged $4.95 per month for overdraft protection.  The pitch to cardholders is that if they overdraw their accounts they will not rack up sizable overdraft fees.  On the surface, this might sound like a good deal to people who keep a low balance in their account and worry about accidentally triggering overdraft fees. But, the reality is quite different.  That’s because bank customers can’t overdraft their accounts unless they opt in for overdraft protection.  Gone are the days when banks could opt you in (without your knowledge) for overdraft protection  and then charge you hefty fees ($35 per overdraft)  for going pennies below your balance when you use your debit card. Allowing unaware customers to overdraft their account and then forcing them to pay $35 for this “privilege” mobilized consumers and their advocates to press for reform.  Thanks to banking reform legislation passed in 2010 (which Green America and its members supported), bank customers have to opt-in for overdraft protection.  If they don’t opt-in for the protection, and they attempt to overdraft their account, their card is simply rejected and no fee is charged.  Unfortunately, many consumers don’t understand this.  A 2011 survey of consumers who opted in for overdraft protection found that 66% of them mistakenly signed up for the service because they thought that if their debit card was rejected for trying to make […]

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Rep. Waters Is Right: Wall St. Needs to Support Financial Reform

Following the JP Morgan debacle in which $2 billion, no wait, $3 billion has been lost due to risky bets, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) makes the following requests of all financial industry executives in a recent blog posting: Stop undermining the Dodd-Frank legislation Stop pressuring regulators to weaken rules Publicly declare support and full funding for the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission so they can exercise needed oversight She notes that “big banks will fight against regulation, even when it is in their own best interests.” How true….and how dangerous. Leave your big bank today: www.BreakUpWithYourMegaBank.org  

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Yet Another Mega-Bank Debacle…Move Your Money Now!

The latest mega-bank debacle, JP Morgan Chase’s loss of at least $2 billion within several weeks, is yet another example of the problem with banks deemed too big to fail. The nation’s largest financial firm in terms of assets, JP Morgan has fought important banking regulation while it obviously needed tough regulation to protect investors and the health of our economy. Learn more from the Center for Responsive Politics about the bank’s lobbying sums that are in the top tier of its industry. Of course, JP Morgan happily took billions of dollars from the government – our tax payer money – when it needed a bailout. And now this?! Two lawsuits have now been filed inManhattanfederal court against the bank and CEO Jamie Dimon, one by a trust and another by an individual investor. JP Morgan Chase is one of the mega-banks featured in Green America’s Break Up With Your Mega-Bank Tool Kit – available as a free download at www.BreakUpWithYourMegaBank.org.  If you haven’t ended your unhealthy banking relationship with JP Morgan yet – now is the time! Use our website for pointers on ensuring a smooth break-up and for finding a community development bank or credit union whose values you can trust.    

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$26 Billion Settlement With Mega-Banks

Attorneys General from all 50 states recently announced a $26 billion settlement with the largest home mortgage servicers in the nation – Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Ally Financial and Wells Fargo (all which qualify for our Mega-Bank Hall of Shame) – for improper foreclosure practices.  While $26 billion sounds like a lot of money, it is a drop in the bucket compared to the fact that Americans collectively owe $700 billion more on their mortgages than their homes are now worth.  In addition, the banks can use the funds to write-down bad mortgages (which they might have done anyway).  Also, while some homeowners will see a bit of relief from the settlement (and some of the worst foreclosure practices will be curbed), millions of homeowners will still face foreclosure in the years to come.  Considering the massive harms that mega-banks caused, and the ongoing harms that resulted, the settlement starts to look puny. More needs to be done to expose fraud in the banking industry, to hold the responsible executives accountable, and to help homeowners whose lives are being wrecked by the foreclosure crisis.  As a consumer, you can play your part by closing your accounts with mega banks and shifting your funds to community development banks and credit unions instead.  Take action with our Break Up With Your Mega-Bank campaign (www.BreakUpWithYourMegaBank.org) today, and start using your savings to build communities that mega-banks so callously wrecked.

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