Banks Continue To Improve Consumer Safeguards, But Progress Isn’t Coming Fast Enough
by Ashlee Kieler, The Consumerist
Opening a checking account with a bank is a rite of passage of sorts for many consumers, but the plethora of small-print disclosures, fees and other services are enough to confuse even the most seasoned account holder. While banks attempted to simplify their practices over the years, a new Pew Charitable Trusts report shows that some banks – and regulators – have a long way to go before they’re truly doing everything they can to protect consumers.
The new report, the third in the organization’s Checks & Balances series, analyzes 45 of the 50 largest banks in the U.S. – 32 of which have been examined in all three of Pew Charitable Trust’s reports since 2013.
Banks are evaluated for their “best” and “good” practices across three categories: disclosure, overdraft, and dispute resolution.
According to Pew, best practices are defined as those that are most effective in providing checking account holders with clear and concise disclosures about fees and terms; reducing the incidence of overdrafts; eliminating practices that maximize overdraft fees; and allowing consumers to choose the method by which they resolve a problem with their bank, rather than requiring pre-dispute binding arbitration.
In all, the report found just one bank that received best practices across all three categories.