Consumer Retorts: Wachovia

Why is my bank hitting me with multiple overdraft fees?

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


CONSUMER RETORTS

Consumer Retorts

Wachovia

AMERICANS GET slapped with $17.5 billion a year in overdraft fees. That’s partly because 8 of the country’s 10 biggest banks process customers’ daily charges—checks, withdrawals, debits—not in the order they’re made, but from the largest to smallest amount. So if you overdraw with your rent check, any smaller purchases you made earlier in the day will be processed afterward, resulting in multiple overdraft fees. Mother Jones reader James Gordon of Haworth, New Jersey, asked us to look into this “intentional thievery.” We called his bank, Wachovia, where a customer service rep guessed that this was “to get more money out of customers maybe?” Not so, explained corporate communications manager Eileen Leveckis: “Our research has shown that customers prefer us to pay the higher-amount bills such as mortgage, car payments—the really important bills that will impact credit.” Maybe she didn’t get the memo. According to an internal document obtained by USA Today, last year Wachovia told employees that overdraft charges “make up a big percentage of our revenue and is [sic] a HOT button among leadership.”

HAVE A PROBLEM? Oh yes, you do. Go to motherjones.com/consumer-retorts to vent about annoying products and corporate policies. Selected entries will get MoJo swag.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest