BoA agrees to settle
Bank of America, the largest U.S. lender by assets, agreed to pay $410 million to settle lawsuits alleging deceptive practices in the management of customer accounts that led to excessive fees for overdrafts.
The settlement was dated Jan. 27, according to a court filing by Bank of America and lawyers for consumers. Overdraft class actions — unified in 2009 from across the country in Miami federal court — alleged breach of contract, unjust enrichment and usury by more than two dozen banks. Institutions including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo were named in related lawsuits.
Miami resident Ralph Torres described in his suit against Bank of America how he opened an account in 2000 after seeing advertisements for “free checking.” Torres alleged he was tricked into believing he had more money in his account than was the case, and that Bank of America debited his funds in a way that made it more likely he would incur overdraft fees.
“The bank actively provides false or misleading balance information to these customers, including the plaintiff, that in turn deceives these customers into making additional transactions that, in turn, will generate even more overdraft fees for the bank,” Torres’s lawyers wrote in the complaint.