PNC Among Banks Changing Policies Following Lawsuits Over Overdraft Charges

Beginning December 1, PNC Bank will cease the reordering of debit card transactions and checks in order of highest amount to lowest, a practice consumer groups have long decried as a deceptive way to collect more overdraft fees. Debt transactions and checks will now be processed in the order they come in under the new policy.

PNC agreed to pay $90 million earlier this year to settle a federal class action suit that accused several large banks across the nation of wrongfully manipulating the order of purchases and clearing them in order of high to low. Accounts are drained more quickly under this practice and trigger the largest amount of overdraft charges, which are now $35 a pop on average. According to a PNC spokesman, the policy change was in the works prior to the settlement agreement in June.

Three dozen large banks are named in the suit, which is pending in the Miami U.S. District Court. Although PNC’s new policy covers checks, the suit only deals with the way the banks process debit transactions. Approximately one-third of them have settled.

PNC now joins Northwest Savings, ESB, and First Commonwealth among the region’s top ten retail banks in processing transactions in a manner consumer groups believe is fair.

Call Golomb • Spirt (215) 278-4449 for more information.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette