Bloomberg News

JPMorgan, Customers at Impasse in Overdraft Fee Accord Talks

July 05, 2011

(Updates with excerpt from mediator’s report in third paragraph.)

July 5 (Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. and consumers who sued the bank over claims of excessive overdraft fees have reached an impasse in settlement talks, a mediator said.

Two mediation sessions held between the company and the plaintiffs’ committee on March 17 and June 28 failed, the mediator, Thomas E. Scott, said July 1 in a report filed in federal court in Miami.

“Following the second effort, the undersigned has decided to declare an impasse at this time,” according to the document signed by Scott.

Consumers sued accusing JPMorgan and more than a dozen other banks of illegally charging excessive fees for overdrafts. Bank of America Corp., the largest U.S. lender by assets, agreed to pay $410 million in February to settle the lawsuits against it. The bank didn’t admit any liability in the cases.

Los Angeles resident Andrea Luquetta sued JPMorgan in 2009 claiming the bank’s overdraft fees were excessive, unfair and deceptive. The suit named JPMorgan and Washington Mutual Bank Inc., which JPMorgan acquired in 2008. The case is now part of multidistrict litigation in the Miami court.

Thomas Kelly, a JPMorgan spokesman, declined to comment on the report. Jeremy W. Alters, a plaintiffs’ attorney, didn’t immediately reply to phone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

FDIC Enforcement

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. last week began enforcing rules aimed at reducing overdraft fees. The FDIC rules followed industrywide regulation approved by the Federal Reserve last year requiring banks to obtain customers’ permission to enroll them in overdraft programs. The FDIC rules impose daily limits on overdraft fees charged to customers.

Consumers incur overdraft fees when they debit sums beyond what they have in an account and their balance dips below zero.

The case is In Re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, 1:09-md-02036, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami).

--With assistance from Laurence Viele Davidson in Atlanta. Editors: Charles Carter, John Pickering

To contact the reporter on this story: Sophia Pearson in Philadelphia at spearson3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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