Consumer Retorts: Wachovia

Why is my bank hitting me with multiple overdraft fees?


CONSUMER RETORTS

Consumer Retorts

Wachovia

AMERICANS GET slapped with $17.5 billion a year in overdraft fees. That’s partly because 8 of the country’s 10 biggest banks process customers’ daily charges—checks, withdrawals, debits—not in the order they’re made, but from the largest to smallest amount. So if you overdraw with your rent check, any smaller purchases you made earlier in the day will be processed afterward, resulting in multiple overdraft fees. Mother Jones reader James Gordon of Haworth, New Jersey, asked us to look into this “intentional thievery.” We called his bank, Wachovia, where a customer service rep guessed that this was “to get more money out of customers maybe?” Not so, explained corporate communications manager Eileen Leveckis: “Our research has shown that customers prefer us to pay the higher-amount bills such as mortgage, car payments—the really important bills that will impact credit.” Maybe she didn’t get the memo. According to an internal document obtained by USA Today, last year Wachovia told employees that overdraft charges “make up a big percentage of our revenue and is [sic] a HOT button among leadership.”

HAVE A PROBLEM? Oh yes, you do. Go to motherjones.com/consumer-retorts to vent about annoying products and corporate policies. Selected entries will get MoJo swag.

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate