By Carter Dougherty
U.S. banks are seeking to shield from scrutiny the $30 billion they collect annually in checking-account fees, saying a proposed requirement for periodic reports is unacceptable even if it exempts small institutions.
The dispute is the latest installment in a multi-year fight between the industry and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over how to monitor the way banks assess charges on their depositors, particularly when people overdraw checking accounts.
The bureau, along with the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, proposed last year that all institutions include detailed breakdowns of their revenue from account fees in the public quarterly reports they file with the FDIC. That would give the consumer bureau data it could use to write new regulations curbing revenue from overdraft services.
Small banks, which earn a larger slice of their revenue from such fees than big institutions, pushed back on the plan. Their resistance led the FDIC and OCC, which regulates nationally chartered banks, to break ranks with the consumer bureau and oppose the change, according to a person briefed on the deliberations who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions weren’t public.