Advocacy Group Says Consumers Pay 17.5 Billion In Bank Overdraft Fees

An advocacy group says that by spending more money than available in their account, U-S consumers rack up more than 17 billion dollars in overdraft fees.

The report by the Durham-based Center for Responsible Lending says that's up from ten billion dollars in 2005. The group says it believes the fees should be considered loans subject to federal interest rate disclosures rules.

The center says some banks post charges against checking accounts quickly while intentionally delaying the posting of deposits. The center says the problem is also compounded when banks fail to warn a customer during a debit card or A-T-M transaction they are about to overdraw their account.

But the industry's trade association counters that banks have programs in place to help consumers understand their accounts, and maintain it's up to customers to manage their finances.

Last month, Bank of America launched a new effort to help customers avoid such fees.