05262017Headline:

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Mike Bryant
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Banks Fight the Law on Overdrafts and Then Profit

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The Minneapolis Tribune had an interesting story about bank overdraft laws and the results after the legislation. The article seemed to focus on the point that people were outraged about fees, legislation was passed to deal with the problem, and now a record number of people have still signed up. The article makes the statement:

The high enrollment rate defies popular wisdom, which held that people were fed up with the fees and would dump overdraft protection if given the choice.

The problem is that they seem to miss the other side. The banks spent thousands trying to fight the change. They had lobbyists attacking Washington in droves, and punished some congresspersons in the elections that followed. They then profited to record amounts:

This year, they stand to collect a record $38.5 billion in overdraft income, according to Moebs. It remains the single largest source of service-charge income among retail banks. The median overdraft fee this year rose from $27 to $28, the first time it has gone up in a recession in more than 40 years, according to Moebs. The median overdraft charge among large banks, those with assets of $50 billion or more, is even higher: $35

My question is why did they fight it? Because they are greedy and the change might have affected their bottom line. What happened after? Did they apologize and say, "Wow this really didn’t work out that bad!" No, they took their gains and now seem to be attacking those who actually helped them make more.

It’s worth keeping in mind the next time this type of issue comes up.