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$137.5 Million Settlement Announced In Citizens Bank Overdraft Fee Class Action

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Citizens Bank has agreed to pay $137.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit which accused the bank of manipulating its customers' debit card and ATM transactions in order to generate excess overdraft fee revenues for the bank, the Miami law firm Grossman Roth said in an April 25 press release.

The lawsuit, part of multidistrict litigation involving more than 30 different banks entitled In re Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, (No. 09-cv-02036, S.D. Fla.), is pending before U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King in Miami. Citizens Bank is part of Citizens Financial Group which, through RBS Citizens N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, operates more than 1,500 retail banking branches throughout the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic and the Mid-West.

The lawsuit claims that Citizens Bank employed software programs designed to extract the greatest possible number of overdraft fees from its customers. According to the lawsuit, Citizens Bank re-sequenced its customers' debit card and ATM transactions by posting them in highest-to-lowest dollar amount, rather than in the actual order in which the transactions were initiated by the customers and authorized by the bank. According to the lawsuit, this internal bookkeeping practice resulted in Citizens' customers being charged substantially more in overdraft fees than if their debit card and ATM transactions had been posted in the order in which they were authorized by the bank.

"This is an outstanding recovery for Citizens' customers who were affected by this practice. We are extremely pleased to have achieved this result," said Robert C. Gilbert with Grossman Roth in Miami. Gilbert serves as Plaintiffs' Coordinating Counsel overseeing and managing all cases in this multidistrict litigation proceeding. He expects the settlement with Citizens Bank to be presented to the court for approval later this year.

Citizens Bank is not the first bank involved in this multidistrict litigation to settle similar claims. Last year, the court approved a $410 million settlement with Bank of America. Settlements with a number of other banks have been announced over the past six months.

In addition to Gilbert, the principal lawyers involved in the Citizens Bank case are Aaron Podhurst and Peter Prieto of Podhurst Orseck in Miami, and Ted Trief of Trief & Olk in New York.

Grossman Roth P.A., founded in Miami in 1988, also maintains offices in Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Sarasota and Key West, Fla. The firm concentrates its practice in the areas of class actions and complex commercial litigation, catastrophic personal injury, products liability, aviation, professional malpractice and other cases involving significant economic or physical damages.

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  • Anonymous

    Not only were they doing this they - they also with-held deposits from entering into the accounts as scheduled - ran all the withdrawals first, charged the fees, and then let the deposit enter the account - from which they would deduct all the fees. They refused to give me a time print-out of the transactions when I went to the bank they accused me of being a bad bookeeper - meanwhile that was what I did for a living. They tried to tell me the money wasn't in my account when I knew it went in since I worked in the payroll department of my company. They reported it two days later than it should have been in the account. Their idea of midnight is apparently way off from my company's. I suppose you can keep pushing midnight until the next day into infinite but eventually there has to be a point when a day can be demarcated by something. They also never notified me of the account changes. My atm card in 7 years prior never allowed cash to be withdrawn unless money was in the account. They de-activated my old ATM and forced me to use a new one - but it came with no terms at all because I actually checked i was suspicious about the new card and forced de-activation of my old one. The ATM balance had also previously always reflected my account balance. But since the new hacky stuff what was reported in the bank wasn't actually what was in it not even on a bank print-out or by calling in (I configured pending checks but was wrong because they were holding all these debit transactions as pending.) All in all it cost me about $500.00 (that's a weeks pay for me) and it almost cost me a home loan when they wanted my statements going back a year and there was this big fat overdrawn by $500.00 listed (they also listed it on every statement to follow not just for the month it happens.) Essentially they are reporting bad finances by showing this on every statement this will effect home loans, especially for first time buyers. I'm sure there must be some law that this can not be show on every statement just the month it happened in knowing banks require this paperwork for loans. Also they don't accept copies for home loans - so being forced to pay for a monthly statement should be illegal especially since it's the banks themselves who won't accept the online copies of statements as legal documentation to qualify for a loan.

  • Anonymous
    They also have been taking transaction that already cleared on certain date and reposting to a later date, which was just done to me this week along with putting all the transactions biggest to smallest causing me 3 overdraft fee's.
  • Anonymous
    So have they said when they will be reimbursing those affected . I have heard nothing from them . Strange how slow they can be refunding us after be so quick to take our funds .
  • I was a victim my mother was a victim my organization was a victim a nonprofit and $9000 disappeared after the overdraft and fraud on my account I have not yet gotten nickel of the money and I’m disabled and dyslexic they failed to communicate effectively I have computer access or a person to communicate with me verbally in accordance with title one in Title three section 504 and five or one of the Americans With Disabilities Act I am Darren deal on a queen home my wife received the notice on 822 we had accounts going back to 2012 and up to 2014 and 15  and I had over 35,000 and 9000+ overdraft disappeared and they closed my account on a bogus statement without notification properly and my mother had an account and she’s deceased now but it’s my money I am the air to it you can call me at 929-245-1151  The account was in West Hempstead my Social Security account my business account any business savings account and they change the staff members so you can’t get accuracy and because of my disability and they knew it there was no communication and this is the first I heard of it notices of class action or not

    Accessible which is violates the constitutional rights of people with disability and my Social Security was there as well and my uncles benefit a disabled veteran

  • Darren Aquino national chief advocate for disabled veterans public figure for my candidate for mayor of New York City had four accounts my mothers disability account my Social Security card my wife’s personal account and three business accounts I was scammed for 9000 to date I have not received it and overdrafts they also do not accommodate in compliance with section with title one and title III of section 504 and 501 neither computer access or an individual to affectively with customers that have a disability and it was noted on the account and the person when the money disappeared over 37,000 was the first deposit and then I transferred from another account was done as well and a campaign account also they also told me the rates were free if I open one business account and maintain a A minimum balance I did that but most of all they violate the rights of people with disabilities I have not had a notice of communication it was the west Hempstead branch in ZIP Code 11552 numerous disability violations and rob the account

  • In Feb 2017 I had a overdraft line of credit that was exhausted because of this very problem lawsuit. I was issued a credit in the amount of 500.00 by Stephen in RI. They refused I had the credit and kept telling me I owed even though I had the proof of in an email with their letter head. After a year of arguing and fighting with them over what they were doing its now 2018. I was so frustrated with it I agreed to pay the overdraft line of credit. I had sent them a payment of 101.00 a payment of 100.00 a payment of 50.00 another payment of 50.00 and a payment of 75.00 and a payment of 50.00. All the payments were done by phone and through my Capitol One bank account. The last payment of 50.00 was mailed and returned back to me and was not at all able to make any payments by phone. I was told the account was satisfied! I then received a collection letter for 423.00! I was outraged. I called them and they had told me there were no payments showing on my account. I reported them to the PA DEPT OF BANKING. Found that they had not investigated thouroughly. They o my went through my statements on when I opened and closed the account. In 2019 in June they had a collection Co call me. I mailed them proof of the payments! I also mailed Dept of Banking the same. The collection stopped! Now just yesterday Sept 12th 2019 I get another collection call from another Collection Co. I have told them the same. I refuse to pay another 426.00 on an already credited 500.00 overdraft line of credit! What do I do? Are these lawsuits for anyone. I have contacted everyone and can not get any satisfaction! I'm in the right here and they are wrong! How and why would they do this to other people? My name is Wayne Gribble 215 high blvd apt 900 wilkes barre pa 18702 phone 5703288353.