The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has entered into a settlement with Woodforest National Bank, The Woodlands, Texas, that requires the bank to pay approximately $32 million in reimbursement to consumers who were harmed by the bank’s overdraft program. The settlement also requires the bank to pay a Civil Money Penalty of $1 million to the U.S. Treasury.
The settlement is based on the OCC’s conclusion that the bank engaged in unfair or deceptive practices that violated the Federal Trade Commission Act. Specifically, the bank assessed excessive amounts of overdraft fees and improperly assessed recurring fees, or “continuous overdraft fees” against certain consumers. In addition, in its marketing brochures the bank emphasized the free or low cost features of certain accounts while omitting information about costly features such as overdraft protection. The bank’s marketing also suggested that certain accounts were well-suited for consumers who had previous difficulty in managing their bank accounts, while omitting information about the high-cost features of its overdraft protection.
In addition to providing reimbursement to consumers who were harmed by the overdraft program and paying a Civil Money Penalty, the bank also agreed to change its overdraft program in order to correct any violations of law.