Wintrust Financial Corporation has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit over its allegedly abusive practice of charging multiple non-sufficient funds fees (NSF) for a single transaction.
According to the lawsuit, Wintrust, which does business as Town Bank and controls 15 chartered community banks across Illinois and Wisconsin, notes in its deposit agreement that when a customer attempts an Automated Clearing House (ACH) transaction without having sufficient funds to cover the amount, the bank may either authorize the transaction and charge a single $35 overdraft fee or reject the transaction and charge a single $35 NSF fee. Nowhere in the deposit agreement does Wintrust inform account holders that it will charge more than one fee for the same transaction, the case says.
Nevertheless, Wintrust, the lawsuit alleges, charges an NSF fee each time it reprocesses a single transaction, regardless of whether the consumer has taken any action.
The plaintiff in the case says he attempted a $37.67 electronic payment via ACH on January 6, 2017. The bank allegedly rejected his payment due to insufficient funds and charged him a $35 NSF fee. Five days later, Wintrust attempted to reprocess the same transaction, the case says, and charged the plaintiff a second $35 NSF fee despite no further action on his part.
The lawsuit argues that this practice is deceptive in that there is “zero indication” in the bank’s deposit agreement that it will charge multiple fees on the same transaction. In fact, the case alleges, the agreement indicates the opposite—that only a single fee will apply for each NSF item or transaction. The lawsuit claims that several other banks also engage in this “abusive” practice yet choose to disclose such to consumers in their banking agreements.
“Nowhere does Wintrust disclose that it will treat each reprocessing of a check or ACH payment as a separate transaction item, subject to additional fees,” the complaint reads, “nor do Wintrust customers ever agree to such fees.”