The beginning of the end for overdraft fees — what’s next?

Due to digitization, growing consumer awareness, competitive forces and political pressure the days of $35 overdraft fees are fading for many financial institutions. As more banks and credit unions drop or reduce fees and provide alternatives to help consumers bridge short-term cash flow issues, they also need new revenues. Building trust through fee transparency and advice can not only make up the shortfall but put institutions in a better long-term position.

In a time of rising consumer awareness, increasing competition and political and regulatory scrutiny, overdraft charges are casting some financial institutions as villains, even if they complying with Reg E or other applicable regulations. A growing number of banks and credit unions are extending grace periods or offering short-term accommodations to bridge gaps in consumer liquidity.

As the industry slowly moves away from overdraft fees, banks and credit unions will have to seek new channels to replace the revenues.

The Problem and Pressure on Fees

While overdraft fees remain an essential revenue stream for many banking institutions, they have steadily declined in recent years, falling more than 15% from $37.1 billion in 2009 to $31.3 billion in 2020, according to Moebs Services.

 

continue reading »

More News