CBA Statement On New CFPB Research Examining Overdraft Fees

December 1, 2021
Billy Rielly

 

Consumer Bankers Association President and CEO Richard Hunt today issued the following statement after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released new research examining overdraft and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees among leading financial institutions:

“The CFPB’s research fails to reflect the introduction of innovative products and services unveiled by America’s leading banks to meet the evolving needs of the customers they serve. The fact of the matter is American families understand overdraft and value the emergency safety net it provides. A new study released by Curinos this morning concluded while regular overdraft use has fallen by 40 percent over the last decade, a majority of consumers still view the product as beneficial and knowingly use it to cover unexpected expenses in times of need, whether to pay their rent or simply put food on the table.

“The Curinos study also revealed how rapidly the market has shifted since 2014 as banks seek to provide the choice and flexibility consumers have come to expect. Driven by competition, America’s leading banks now offer more products and features than ever to avoid unintended fees, including real-time payment updates, de minimis thresholds (24-hour grace periods), and posting alerts. 

“Outside of overdraft, few options remain for consumers to meet their short-term liquidity needs within the well-regulated, well-supervised banking system. CBA long has warned further restricting access to this service would drive many families to predatory payday lenders and other expensive venues. 

“Policymakers should be focused on encouraging, not stifling innovation and competition. We hope the Bureau takes into consideration all of the facts as they consider future action, recognizing our shared commitment to provide every consumer safe access to the products and services which best provide for their daily financial needs.”

CBA Advocacy

To watch Hunt’s May interview on Fox Business correcting the record on overdraft fees and discussing the potential for increased regulation, click HERE

To learn more about the unintended consequences of undermining existing overdraft regulations, click HERE

To read CBA’s statement opposing legislation introduced in Congress in June threatening access to short-term liquidity options for hardworking families in the well-regulated, well-supervised banking industry, click HERE

Background

Today, Curinos, a global data intelligence business released Competition Drives Overdraft Disruption, a comprehensive overview and analysis of the overdraft market in the U.S. The study analyzed consumer preferences and behavioral trends, prior regulatory and industry research, and also included a review of the competitive landscape of financial institutions offering short-term liquidity products and services. Below are key insights from the study, which was conducted between 2014-2020:

Consumers understand and value overdraft

  • A majority of consumers see benefit in overdraft and nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated triggering an overdraft payment was a conscious choice.
  • While consumers favor some proposed regulations limiting the cost of overdraft, 62% say they would reconsider support if the rules limited access to overdraft.

Overdraft use continues to decrease

  • Regular overdraft use fell by 40% to 4.9% between 2010 and 2020.
  • Bank-led initiatives aimed to help consumers avoid an unintended fee have dramatically reduced the number of small purchases tied to overdraft.

Competitive marketplace spurs innovation

  • Since 2008, as a result of banks’ innovations, overdraft fees, per U.S. adult, have declined by 77%, or $158, and now seem to cover larger — and potentially more important — purchases.
  • Consumers were more likely to open new accounts or increase their checking account activity with banks offering overdraft innovations.
  • Traditional banks and fintechs offering consumer-friendly overdraft and overdraft alternatives have experienced a 40% improvement in account acquisition since 2017, compared to a decline of almost 30% for non-innovators.
  • Competition will drive financial institutions to address gaps in their product suite so they can provide short-term credit alternatives to customers.

To read the full study, click HERE