Prospects sue Financial institution of America for not refunding overdraft charges throughout pandemic By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An individual walks previous a Financial institution of America signal within the Manhattan borough of New York Metropolis, New York, U.S., January 19, 2022. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Financial institution of America Corp (NYSE:) is going through a lawsuit searching for class motion standing filed on Thursday by two clients who say the financial institution refused to honor guarantees to refund overdraft charges to purchasers who confronted monetary hardship through the pandemic.

Anthony Ramirez, a truck driver residing in California, and Masako Williams, an 85-year-old retiree residing in Texas, say they requested the financial institution to refund them for a number of hundred {dollars} value of overdraft and nonsufficient funds charges (NSF) that they had been charged in 2020 and 2021 after they skilled an absence of labor for themselves or the members of the family that assist them.

Like many banks, Financial institution of America pledged at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to offer needy clients with monetary help, and to refund sure overdraft and NSF charges, in keeping with the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court docket in Northern California.

Financial institution of America spokesperson William Halldin didn’t touch upon the case instantly however mentioned that the financial institution “offered tens of thousands and thousands of {dollars} in price waivers through the top of the pandemic in 2020.”

Banks are already going through elevated scrutiny from regulators over overdraft and NSF charges. The U.S. Client Monetary Safety Bureau (CFPB) is exploring new steerage aimed toward curbing banks’ reliance on the charges, and is searching for testimonials from clients about these and different “junk charges.”

Financial institution of America mentioned in January it could scale back overdraft charges to $10 from $35 beginning this Could, and that it could cease charging a $35 nonsufficient funds price for issues like bounced checks and automatic account withdrawals that the financial institution rejects.

Ramirez and Williams say financial institution representatives repeatedly denied their refund requests and that it appeared the financial institution didn’t have an enough system in place to grant the refund.

For instance, Williams was as soon as denied a refund by a financial institution consultant who mentioned “the pc program used wouldn’t permit” it, in keeping with the lawsuit.

“Financial institution of America advised folks, ‘In case you have an issue, name us and we are going to refund your overdraft charges,'” Hassan Zavareei, a founding accomplice of the Washington, D.C.-based legislation agency Tycko & Zavareei, advised Reuters in an interview.

“They made that promise however they did not create or implement any methods to make the most of these guarantees.”

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