The CFPB’s next area of focus looks to be checking accounts. On Feb. 22, the Bureau will host another town hall meeting in New York City. The meeting will be a forum for consumers “to talk about checking accounts,” the CFPB’s website said.
Checking accounts have been on the bureau’s radar for some time. Previous comment by the CFPB suggests that the upcoming meeting will focus on fees and disclosures. “Over the past decades, so-called “free checking” accounts emerged… much of the costs to the consumer were buried in overdraft fees. The brunt of these overdraft fees has been borne by… consumers who may be unable to afford the resulting shocks to the family budget,” said Raj Date, now the deputy director of the CFPB, in a speech on Sept. 15, 2011. In his speech, Date also pointed to an FDIC study which found that 84 percent of overdraft fees were paid by 9 percent of checking account customers.
The CFPB appears to believe that banks ought to be paid for checking account services. “These accounts provide consumers with real value, and cost banks real money to deliver. In a functioning market, that would lead to a product that customers pay some transparent price to obtain,” Date said.