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CFPB initiative to 'save Americans billions in junk fees'

The CFPB on Wednesday announced an initiative to "save households billions of dollars a year by reducing exploitative junk fees charged by banks and financial companies," describing a Bureau request for information as a "chance for the public to share input that will help shape the agency’s rulemaking and guidance agenda, as well as its enforcement priorities in the coming months and years."

The Bureau cited as examples hotels and concert venues that advertise rates, only to add "resort fees" and "service fees" after the fact, and fees purportedly charged to cover individual expenses, like paperwork processing, that "often exceed the actual cost of that service" and singled out "punitive late fees" of major credit card companies and 2019 bank revenue from overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees of over $15 billion.

The CFPB is interested in hearing about people’s experiences with fees associated with their bank, credit union, prepaid or credit card account, mortgage, loan, or payment transfers, including:

  • Fees for things people believed were covered by the baseline price of a product or service
  • Unexpected fees for a product or service
  • Fees that seemed too high for the purported service
  • Fees where it was unclear why they were charged

The CFPB is also interested in hearing from small business owners, non-profit organizations, legal aid attorneys, academics and researchers, state and local government officials, and financial institutions, including small banks and credit unions. Comments on the Bureau's request for information will be accepted through March 31, 2022.

Financial trade groups have already reacted to the Bureau's request for information, calling it "misguided" and saying it "paints a distorted and misleading picture" of the financial service industry.

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