t r u t h o u t | How the Sneaky Hands of the Big Banks Are Working Overtime to Rip You Off
Posted Jul 15 2010 1:37pm
After living through the Great Financial Crash of 2008, just about everybody recognizes that megabanks screwed the economy hard and were rewarded with big bailouts, which further screwed over, well, everybody, in the name of banker bonuses. But Big Finance has been waging its war on the middle class for decades, and many of its most destructive practices don’t actually put the financial system in jeopardy. These tactics work because they are so effectively predatory. Banks gouge consumers and get rich—they don’t create risks for the financial system, because they result in pure, risk-free profit, converting hard-earned middle-class wages into quick and easy bonuses.
One of the most pernicious of these predatory practices is the overdraft fee. It’s one of the biggest revenue streams for banking behemoths today. In 2009, banks reaped over $38 billion in overdraft fees from their own customers, while posting a total combined profit of just $12.5 billion . Without overdrafts, many banks would have scored massive losses last year, and possibly gone under. Instead, they booked epic bonuses.