Bailed out banksters hatched callous overdraft scheme

While millions of Americans are fighting for survival ‘€“ whether it’€™s to keep their homes or keep their jobs ‘€“ it appears financial industry banksters have been lining their pockets through a heartless scheme that capitalizes on financially struggling folks.A Vernon County, Wisconsin resident has filed suit against Green Bay-based Associated Bank for ‘€œrearrang[ing] the order of transactions to maximize overdraft fees.’€ From the Wisconsin State Journal:

For example, the lawsuit alleges, if a customer with an account balance of $50 makes four debit transactions of $10 and one subsequent transaction of $100 on the same day, the bank reorders the debits from largest to smallest, charging the customer four overdraft fees.

If the customer makes a deposit of $100 on the same day, the lawsuit states, the bank would only credit the account with the deposit after deducting all the debits, still imposing four overdraft fees on the customer. If the $100 transaction was made last and was debited last, only one overdraft fee would be assessed, and no overdraft fees would be assessed if the $100 deposit was credited before the debits were deducted, according to the lawsuit.

Similar suits have been filed elsewhere against Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Union Bank, U.S. Bank, Wachovia according the WSJ.

Associated Bank is a $23-billion bank; the second-largest in Wisconsin. Its CEO is Philip B. Flynn, who, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has a salary of $1.2 million in addition to $2.3 million more in company shares. Associated Bank’€™s previous CEO Paul Beideman ‘€“ a former WMC board member ‘€“ had a total compensation of $2.27 million.

It was under Beideman that Associated Bank got a $525 million check from taxpayers via the infamous George W. Bush-era TARP bailout. It was also under Beideman that three months after getting bailed out, Associated Bank sent ‘€œabout 100 employees to a posh Puerto Rican resort as a reward for a job well done.’€ (It was, as you may recall, just one of the many stories of lavish, unnecessary spending by bailed-out banks.)

Now compare the excessive executive salaries with those in Vernon County ‘€“ which has one of the lowest median household incomes in Wisconsin at around $43,000 per household. Having been born and raised in the county, I know full well the modest means on which my friends, family, and neighbors live.

But it’€™s the free market, I suppose.

So let millionaire CEOs and executives and bailed-out big banks exploit folks in Wisconsin making less than $45,000. In fact, big banks should be free to gouge us more.

Government is just getting in the way of the free market, right?

Right Scott Walker? Right Mark Neumann? Right WMC? Right WPRI? Right WISTAX? Right MacIver Institute? Right Americans for Prosperity? Right TEA Party?

Right?

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Cody currently oversees online communications, web development, and graphic design at One Wisconsin Now & the Institute, having served previously as Deputy Research Director.