Wells Fargo Loses Ruling on Overdraft Fees

Well it’s about time a judge (obviously not on the bank payroll) had the nerve to speak up.

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Wells Fargo to pay California customers $203 million in restitution for claims that it had manipulated transactions to maximize the overdraft fees it charged.

Instead of processing transactions in the order in which they were received, Wells Fargo put through the largest to smallest, a judge in San Francisco found. In a stinging 90-page opinion, United States District Judge William Alsup wrote that the practice was unfair and deceptive.

“The bank’s dominant, indeed sole, motive was to maximize the number of overdrafts and squeeze as much as possible” out of customers who spent more than they had in their accounts, the judge wrote. The ruling comes after a two-week trial in the spring heard by the judge. More here.

Delicious news for all small business owners and entrepreneurs especially.

Excessive overdraft charges are a very big source of profits for the banks, though. Wells Fargo collected $1.8 billion in overdraft fees in California alone from 2005-2007. You can bet who paid. Hint: not the big people.

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Kim Klaver


  • It's about time they got whacked. Our oldest son had over $1200 in overdraft fees the year before last at Wells Fargo.

    And that's exactly what they did to him too. Process the largest transactions first. Because we still had a joined account they came after me when his account was empty. Talk about ethics.

    Then he switched banks.

  • This is for California customers only? Wells Fargo does business in many other states and they do the same processing of transactions. How does one find out if other states are pursuing the same issue?

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