It happens every week: someone calls Whistleblower in total amazement over being charged multiple $35 or $40 overdraft fees for purchases of a cup of coffee or other minuscule expenses. Just yesterday, a man emailed me to say how a disabled friend accidentally let his bank account go into negative territory for four days. During that time, he incurred 11 overdraft charges of $35. These kinds of stories have reached sympathetic ears in Washington and prompted some banks to backpedal on the extremely lucrative fees, which are effectively finance charges for short-term loans. My colleague Chris Serres reports today that U.S. Bancorp has trimmed its overdraft fees for small purchases. While it doesn't go as far as Bank of America, which stopped providing overdraft protection for debit card purchases, U.S. Bank's action does ease the pain.
Of course, creative bankers will figure out a new way to make up for all that lost revenue. So watch those statements!