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CFPB Finds Atlantic Union Bank Misled Customers About Fees

CFPB

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has ordered Atlantic Union Bank to pay $6.2 million, saying the bank misled customers and improperly enrolled them into paying overdraft fees.

The $6.2 million in payments includes refunding at least $5 million to consumers and paying a $1.2 million penalty to the CFPB’s victim relief fund, the regulator said in a Thursday (Dec. 7) press release.

The CFPB found that Atlantic Union Bank violated federal law when enrolling thousands of customers in checking account overdraft programs by phone, according to the release. Specifically, the bank charged fees without proper consent and misled customers about the terms and costs of overdraft coverage, the release said.

“Atlantic Union Bank harvested millions of dollars in overdraft fees through a host of illegal practices,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said in the release. “Americans are fed up with junk fee scams and the CFPB will continue its work to ensure families are treated fairly.”

Commenting on the settlement in a Thursday press release, Atlantic Union Bank said that it does not admit to any wrongdoing under the settlement.

The bank added that the practices at issue in the settlement occurred during the period from 2017 to 2020 and that it proactively made improvements to its overdraft program “well before” the settlement.

“We respectfully disagree with the CFPB’s conclusions about these historical practices and take very seriously our obligation to comply with applicable law,” Atlantic Union CEO John Asbury said in the release. “We are, and always have been, committed to treating our customers fairly and providing them with the information they need to help them make financial decisions that work for their lives. Nonetheless, we believe it is in Atlantic Union’s best interest to settle this matter so we can continue focusing on providing the products, services and support our customers want.”

The CFPB’s order comes about five months after the agency fined Bank of America $250 million over junk fees.

When announcing that order, the regulator said the fine was in response to Bank of America’s “systematically double-dipping” on fees imposed on customers with insufficient funds, failure to pay reward bonuses explicitly promised to credit card customers, and unauthorized opening of accounts with customers’ sensitive personal information.

Reached for comment by PYMNTS, a Bank of America spokesperson said at the time that the firm no longer charges the fees addressed by the CFPB.