On 9/28/13, I received a check from the Citizens Bank Overdraft settlement for $6.33 (below).
The letter said, “This check is issued pursuant to the terms of class action settlement in the cases styled as In Re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, Case No. 1:09-md-02036-JLK; Duval v. Citizens Financial Group, Inc., et al., S.D. Fla. Case No. 1:10-cv-21080-JLK; Daniels v. Citizens Financial Group, Inc., S.D. Fla. Case No. 1:10-cv-22014-JLK; and Blanksenship v. RBS Citizens, N.A., et al., S.D. Fla. Case No. 1:10-cv-22942-JLK.
You can get more information about the Settlement by visiting the settlement website at http://www.citizensoverdraftsettlement.com, call the toll free number, 1-888-273-0426, or by contacting the Citizens Overdraft Settlement Administrator at PO Box 3410, Portland, OR 97208-3410.”
Important: If you are looking for information about the Citizens Bank Overdraft Settlement, the official website is here: https://www.citizensoverdraftsettlement.com//
- PLEASE DO NOT CALL ME to talk about this case, or to ask questions about it.
- Why? Because it’s not my case. I will not return voice-mails left about it.
- The official website for the Citizens overdraft case is here: https://www.citizensoverdraftsettlement.com//
- Questions? Contact the Settlement Administrator at 1-888-273-0426 or info@CitizensOverdraftSettlement.com
Most Commons Questions about the citizens bank overdraft class action:
1) How much will Citizens bank customers be paid out of the overdraft class action lawsuit settlement?
2) When will citizens bank reimburse overdrafts?
3) How to join the class action suit against Citizens bank?
I wrote Citizens bank customer service on May 4, 2012 asking about the settlement, because I too was affected by Citizen bank overdraft fees.
They wrote back:
“Dear Preston Leonard,
Thank you for your recent inquiry. Please be advised if the court approves the settlement, impacted customers will be formally notified. If you have any further questions you may email us or call us at our 24 hour Customer Service at 800 922-9999.”
Citizens Bank to pay $137.5m to settle overdraft suit
Quote from Globe Article:
“Citizens Bank customers hit with questionable overdraft fees could receive refunds under a settlement announced Wednesday in which the bank agreed to pay $137.5 million to settle charges it manipulated customers’ debit card and ATM transactions. The bank was accused of processing the transactions in a way that made overdrafts more likely, boosting the income it collected from customers forced to pay overdraft fees. Citizens did not admit wrongdoing in the case, which is being heard in federal court in Miami. The court must still approve the settlement….”
Read the rest of the story about the Citizens bank overdraft fee class action settlement here.
Excerpt from the Consolidated Complaint against Citizens Bank:
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO. 1:09-MD-02036-JLK
IN RE: CHECKING ACCOUNT OVERDRAFT LITIGATION
MDL NO. 2036
1. This is a civil action seeking monetary damages, restitution and declaratory relief from Defendants, RBS Citizens, N.A., Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, and Charter One (collectively, “Citizens Bank,” the “Bank,” or “Defendants”), arising from their unfair and unconscionable assessment and collection of excessive overdraft fees.
2. In the era of electronic banking and the ubiquitous use of debit card transactions, the assessment of overdraft fees has become a major profit center for many United States banks, including Citizens Bank. For years, banks covered customers who occasionally bounced checks and even did so for a time for customers using debit cards, without charging their customers. Since the early 1990’s, however, banks have devised methods to provide overdraft “protection” for customers and charge them in each instance. A recent FDIC report estimated that overdraft fees represent 74 percent of the total service charges that are imposed on deposit accounts in the United States. A 2008 FDIC study reports that overdraft fees for debit cards can carry an effective annualized interest rate that exceeds 3,500 percent. Nevertheless, the Consumer Federation of America reports that five of the ten largest banks raised their overdraft fees in the last year.
3. In 2007, banks collected more than $17 billion in overdraft fees. That number nearly doubled in 2008, as more and more consumers struggled to maintain positive checking account balances. In 2009, banks brought in $37.1 billion in overdraft charges alone.
4. Almost by definition, these fees disproportionately affect the poor, who are most likely to maintain low balances. Moebs Services, a research company that has conducted studies for the government as well as banks, estimates that 90 percent of overdraft fees are paid by the poorest 10 percent of banks’ customer base. Moreover, these fees have the tendency to create a domino effect, because the imposition of a service charge on an account with a negative balance will make it less likely that the account holder’s balance will reach positive territory, resulting in more fees.
5. Before debit cards existed, banks occasionally extended the courtesy of honoring paper checks written on overdrawn or otherwise deficient accounts for customers who were typically in good standing. Banks extended this courtesy largely because the third party involved in a sales transaction allowed the customer to pay by check, expecting the funds to be available and the check to clear. For example, if a customer wrote a check to purchase groceries, the grocery store would only know whether the check cleared after the groceries had been purchased.
6. The same considerations are not present when customers use debit cards. Banks could simply decline to honor debit or point of sale transactions where accounts lack sufficient funds to execute the transactions. Retail and service transactions could still be executed if consumers presented an alternative form of payment. ATM transactions could still proceed if banks provided a warning that an overdraft fee would be assessed, and customers chose to proceed nevertheless. In fact, until a few years ago, most banks simply declined debit transactions that would overdraw an account.
7. Instead of simply declining debit transactions when there are insufficient funds, or warning its customers that an overdraft fee will be assessed if they proceed with the transaction, Citizens Bank routinely processes such transactions and then charges its customers an overdraft fee of $39 in most cases – even when the transaction is for only a few dollars. This automatic, fee-based overdraft scheme is intentionally designed to maximize overdraft fee revenue for Citizens Bank. Additionally, as part of its inequitable motive to generate profits gained through the imposition of unconscionable overdraft fees, Citizens Bank failed to give customers the option to “opt out” of overdraft protection.
8. In many instances, these overdraft fees cost Citizens Bank account holders hundreds of dollars in a matter of days, or even hours, when they may be overdrawn by only a few dollars. Even more egregious, customer accounts may not actually be overdrawn at the time the overdraft fees are charged, or at the time of the debit transactions.
9. Thus, it is through manipulation and alteration of customers’ transaction records that Citizens Bank maximizes overdraft penalties imposed on customers…
- U.S. Bank refunding nearly 3 million customers for overdrafts (bizjournals.com)
- U.S. Bank owes 2.7 million people for overdrafts (startribune.com)
- If you’re not rich, your bank wants you to overdraft (rippedenvelope.com)
- Number of checking overdrafts is declining (bizjournals.com)