Goings-on “Behind the Scenes” of the Banks Fees story

I got a lot of feedback from my investigation into Banks fees that aired July 29th.

We reported that Bank of America defended its practice of charging its customers “overdraft” fees on transactions that hadn’t actually been processed by saying that “9 out of the top 13 banks share this practice.”

Of course, after the story aired, Erin Cluchey emailed with a logical question:

In the news story regarding banks charging fees for “Pending transactions” it stated that nine out of thirteen banks are using this practice.  I was wondering if there was a list of the nine banks now using this practice.  I would also like to know which of the 13 are not.  I think I’m going to switch to one of those banks so I would like to find out who they are.  Thanks very much.

Well, duh??? I immediately asked myself why I didn’t ask Bank of America to provide a list of those banks when a spokesperson used that line for their defense. I told Erin I would find out and get back to him.

Read the string of emails that followed:

—– Original Message —–

From: Amy Davis <adavis@kprc.com>

To: Wagner, Diane

Sent: Wed Jul 30 14:43:18 2008

Subject: RE: New bank fees follow-up

Hi Diane,

In our story that aired last night, we reported that Bank of America says 9 out of the top 13 banks in the US also charge overdraft fees on pending transactions. This morning, I have received a few emails from consumers who want to know which 9 banks have that policy and which 4 do not.



Thanks for the follow up. I don’t have a list of the banks but the best source would be the American Bankers Association.

Diane Wagner

SVP, Media Relations

Bank of America

OK… let’s try ABA:

From: Amy Davis [mailto:adavis@kprc.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 4:16 PM
To: Nessa Feddis; Carol Kaplan
Subject: Bank Fees story



Hi Nessa & Carol,

The story on bank fees and changing policies aired in our 10pm newscast last night.  

Diane Wagner with bank of America also told us (and we reported) that 9 out of the top 13 banks in the US share BOA’s policy for charging overdraft fees on pending transactions. Diane told me that you guys would have that information.  That would be great if you could send me a list.

Thanks again,

 Amy Davis

KPRC Local 2 Investigates



 Sorry, we do not have a list of those banks. 

Back to Bank of America… let’s push a little harder:

Amy–What I can tell you is that the information is factual, and we stand by the accuracy of our information.

But for competitive reasons, we are not going to disclose who these banks are.

Diane will not have anything further to add.

I hope this helps.




I don’t know… does it help you??


5 Responses

  1. Pretty easy for them to quote something. They didn’t even define what they meant by the top 13 banks. So that could mean top in assets, revenues, employee head count, branch locations, fee income; whatever it takes to get to their 9 out of 13 number.

    What some banks do is instead of charging a fee for a debit hold, they hold the available funds and then charge a fee for any subsequent transactions that come through and overdraw what they define as “available funds”.

    Therefore, a pending item can hold available funds, causing another item (i.e. a check) to overdraw your account. Then, when the pending item actually hard posts, it, too, can be charged an overdraft. That means one transaction can cause 2 overdrafts.

  2. Another little tid bit about Bank of America…When there are pending transactions the highest dollar transaction will be the first to post. If you have 4 pending, instead of posting the 3 smaller transactions, they will post the higher and hit you with 3 overdrafts.

  3. that is hilarious!

  4. […] Amy Davis apparently has a consumerist blog which is fun to read. Here’s where she calls the bluff of a Bank of America PR statement. […]

  5. The banks can do whatever they want, they define our laws, not our elected officials. Our elected officals are only puppets or pawns. You would think people have come to this realization by now, after “the bailout.” Can you think of as much as one person who you know personally that supported it? I can’t. Yet, our elected officials, who by the Constitution, are supposed to be OUR voice, did. Banks will always control the US as long as we keep giving them our money to pay off our elected officials and spend thousands on spas, while jacking up our APR’s to 28% because the mail got our payment to them a day late or a dollar short.

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