A better bank for your buck

Sen. Dodd has introduced legislation to outlaw predatory overdraft fees.

Last year, taxpayers bailed out banks in order to stabilize our countryâÄôs financial system. Yet banks that benefitted from the governmentâÄôs decision to prop up the financial system have been expanding predatory practices toward the very consumers responsible for their survival. Banks have been multiplying credit card interest rates without cause, penalizing cardholders for being late on other bills not related to their credit card and posting customersâÄô largest transactions first to maximize overdraft fees. Bank of America plans to start charging a fee between $29 and $99 per year that will apply even if the customer pays off his or her credit card on time every month. Apparently, the trillions in free taxpayer money banks received in the bailouts werenâÄôt enough. Congress has finally realized that itâÄôs time to do something about the banksâÄô predatory treatment of customers. On Monday, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., introduced legislation that would limit the number of overdraft fees banks can charge customers. This piece of legislation would only allow banks to charge consumers one overdraft fee per month and six per year. Furthermore, customers would choose if they wanted overdraft coverage, and the fees banks charge would have to be proportional to the cost of processing overdrafts. Overdraft fees affect low-income groups like students disproportionately because those customers have less of a financial cushion and are more prone to overdraft their accounts. Congress should pass this legislation in order to protect the consumers whose money was already used to keep banks in business.