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A Short Review of Checking Account Disclosures

Adam Rust's picture

Posted March 2, 2012

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is clear about its intent to pay attention to how financial products are represented to the public.

"On transparency and disclosure," says Richard Cordray, "a key insight here is that more disclosures don't always make things better. As it accumulates, there can be so much dense, fine print that it can actually make things much worse. Consumers find it hard to penetrate, and they often will not read it. That's a concern, and that's why we're trying to make things more transparent, simpler and clearer with our "Know Before You Owe" project."

Here is a simple page count of the disclosures that accompany basic checking accounts at some of the big banks.

Wells Fargo: 86 pages

JP Morgan Chase: 36 pages (deposit account agreement)

Citigroup: 37 pages

US Bank: 2 parts of 6 pages and 28 pages.

Fifth Third: 12 pages - basic checking.

Bank of America: This is the hardest disclosure to count, although it is also the one with a well-linked index. The online banking agreement for checking has 11 sections of between 2 and 13 sub-parts. The deposit services agreement contains 23 parts of between 2 and 26 parts each.