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Banks Record $11.2 Billion in Overdraft Fees in 2015

Adam Rust's picture

Posted April 4, 2016

New federal data reports that banks charged consumers $11,178,407,000 in overdraft fees in 2015. 

Customers three of country's largest banks paid almost 46 percent of those costs. JPMorgan Chase tallied $1.866 billion. Wells Fargo finished with $1.631 billion. Bank of America levied $1.628 billion. Those sums do not include the costs of any extended overdraft fees that might have been additionally debited. 

An outstanding leader in this unsavory game is Woodforest National Bank. This relatively small institution, most known for its kiosk branches in Wal-Marts across the country, extracted more in fees from overdraft than did all but nine other institutions. Woodforest customers paid more than did those who banked at Fifth Third, Capital One, Citizens Bank, and USAA. Woodforest stands out in terms of the share of their revenues coming from overdraft. Approximately 69 percent of the revenues generated from Woodforest's consumer transaction accounts came from overdraft; the next closest institution in the top ten fell 22 percentage points below that figure. 

Overdraft Fees Top 10 2015

All of these sums are in thousands of dollars. Thus, this chart is properly interpreted to read that JPMorgan Chase received $1.866 billion in overdraft fees in 2015. 

These sums understate the real totals because they exclude extended overdraft charges (they are booked as interest) and overdrafts debited against business accounts. 

How much is $11.2 billion? 

  • It is a sum greater than the most recent annual budgets of 16 states. 
  • It is 1.75 times the amount spent by the federal government on Head Start ($6.4 billion). 
  • It comes close to the NFL's annual revenue. ($10.5 billion in 2014, $12 billion in 2015)
  • It would pay the cost of food stamps for 2.1 million households. 
  • It is two and one-half times greater than the sum spent in 2015 by the VA, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to address homelessness. 
  • More than the 2015 net income of either GM or Ford. 
  • More than Americans spent on bicycles and taxicabs combined (Bureau of Economic Analysis). 
  • More than Americans spent at Starbucks in 2015. 

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