Dems To JPMorgan: Refund $1.5 Billion In Overdraft Fees Collected During COVID-19


Democrats in New York sent a letter to JPMorgan Chase CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon asking that the bank return the $1.5 billion it collected in overdraft fees over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic — more than any other bank.

“During the pandemic, the largest banks in the United States charged billions of dollars in overdraft fees at a time when millions of Americans were struggling financially,” according to the June 16 letter signed by four New York Democrats — Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney, Kathleen Rice, Gregory Meeks and Tom Suozzi.

The legislators asked the biggest bank in the country to refund overdraft fees collected during the pandemic and change its overdraft policies “to stop charging these predatory fees in the future,” CNN reported.

The letter pointed out that it’s usually the most vulnerable who are hit with the most charges — people who carry low balances, those with low monthly deposits, low-income consumers, and communities of color. 

“It is deeply troubling that financial institutions, including our nation’s largest banks, profited off fees charged to those struggling the most as the Covid-19 economic crisis left many families in severe financial distress,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

During that same period, Bank of America posted profits totaling $1.1 billion and Wells Fargo made $1.3 billion, The American Prospect reported, citing FDIC filings. Since the Great Recession, collective overdraft fees have continued to climb, hitting an $11 billion peak in 2019 — close to 5 percent of total bank revenue.

Earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also asked Dimon to refund the billions collected during the pandemic. She put him on the spot during the May 26 Senate Banking Committee hearing and asked that he refund all of the money on top of the fees the bank refunded to customers that asked.

Dimon didn’t hesitate in responding with a firm “No.” Warren later tweeted that Dimon was “the star of the overdraft show.”

The issue demonstrates the fact that “we can’t have it both ways,” Karen Webster recently wrote. Meaning, “selectively targeting some for providing and monetizing services that consumers want and use, without considering the downstream impact to those consumers if those services are suddenly taken away, regulated out of existence or made too costly for service providers to support.”