Win Count: Consumers 1 Banks $700 Billion

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We support reforms to the financial marketplace that protect consumers from unscrupulous banks and lenders.

By Consumers Union on Friday, September 25th, 2009

Banks are feeling the pressure you have generated and are reading the writing on the wall: Consumers are sick of being ripped off.

Chase, B of A, and Wells Fargo all announced changes to their overdraft policies mostly for overdraft loans triggered by the use of a debit card. Click here to see how the changes will affect you.

This is due to mounting public pressure on the banks and legislators to reform how financial products are regulated or more accurately not regulated. The banks changing their policy is a small victory in a much bigger war.

Consumers have sent thousands of emails and made thousands of phone calls to Congress telling them that unfair fees have got to stop. Consumers should have the choice to opt-in to overdraft programs and that $35 on a $2 cup of coffee is an unreasonably high interest short term loan. Congress and the Federal Reserve needs to act quickly and swiftly to stop these practices. Then they need to put a new sheriff on the beat to protect consumers from these kinds of practices. A new agency that acts in the best interest of consumers and is independent of the banks. The most powerful weapon Consumers Union has when we take this fight to DC is you.

In our fight against the mulit-billion global Big Banking industry the chips are stacked against us. Consumers Union is a non- partisan not-for-profit organization that pokes, prods, and shames legislators into doing the right thing. The way we beat back the Banks is by consumers telling us their personal stories and getting involved. Compelling personal stories provide a snapshot of what is happening all across the country. When one person shares their story it is representative of hundreds if not thousands of similar stories of people with a common experience.

Take Justin from Clifton Park, NY who shared his story with us.

At one point, Justin was charged $385 for 11 overdrafts over a ten day period. Some of these transactions were for less than $10 – all but two were worth less than $50. Eventually, after multiple telephone calls to the bank, Justin was refunded $100 of his $385 total overdraft fees. Justin would rather have his debit card denied on transactions that would cause overdrafts. He wishes that he could choose whether the bank should cover transactions which overdraw his accounts, and he feels that “to tack on fees and change policies to increase fee income is completely intolerable.”

Armed with compelling stories like Justin’s and with thousands of voters calling, emailing, and writing their legislators we can beat back the Big Bank lobby. Now is the time to share your Overdraft, Credit Card, Loan, or Mortgage story and to defend your dollars.

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