Banks Slam Biden

Joe Biden

( – In a huge development, Joe Biden and his administration face retaliation from a key sector of the economy after another “genius” proposal disguised as a means to an end ahead of the election has been rejected.

Specifically, banking industry groups have voiced strong opposition to the Biden administration’s new proposal to limit overdraft fees, labeling it as a politically motivated, “misguided proposal” that could hinder the availability of overdraft protection for consumers.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposed rule aims to cap overdraft charges by implementing a “breakeven standard” or benchmark fee. This would also involve removing an exemption for overdraft loans from credit regulations. The American Bankers Association (ABA) has been particularly vocal, arguing that the move will make it “significantly harder” for banks to provide overdraft services.

ABA president and CEO Rob Nichols criticized the proposal as a political maneuver by the CFPB to eliminate a crucial service, potentially driving consumers towards costlier, less-regulated alternatives. He also pointed out that many banks have voluntarily reformed their overdraft programs, offering accounts that do not charge overdraft fees. Nichols believes the proposal disrupts a competitive market by imposing a government-set price cap.

Echoing similar sentiments, the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), representing American retail banks, argued that the proposal fails to acknowledge banks’ efforts to reduce overdraft fees and could stifle innovation and competition in the sector. The CBA highlighted that banks’ voluntary policy changes were projected to cut overdraft fees significantly, saving consumers billions of dollars.

CBA President and CEO Lindsey Johnson expressed concerns that the proposed rule, with its “one-size-fits-all” approach, would reverse years of progress and halt further innovation. She warned that the proposal could strip millions of Americans of a vital emergency safety net and potentially exclude more consumers from the banking system.

On the other hand, consumer advocacy groups welcomed the proposal, accusing large banks of exploiting financially vulnerable customers with high overdraft fees. Carla Sanchez-Adams from the National Consumer Law Center asserted that these fees can lead to consumers losing their bank accounts and becoming unbanked, thus being cut off from mainstream financial services.

Chuck Bell of Consumer Reports likened current overdraft services to short-term loans with exorbitantly high-interest rates. The CFPB highlighted that large banks typically charge around $35 for an overdraft loan, which often amounts to an annual percentage rate of over 16,000 percent.

The proposed rule is part of the wider Biden administration initiative to address so-called “junk fees.” Biden, in a statement, condemned the practice of exorbitant overdraft fees by some banks, which he views as exploitative, particularly to the most vulnerable Americans.