PNC Bank, a unit of PNC Financial Services Group Inc., will pay $90 million to settle a lawsuit accusing it of improperly manipulating customers’ debit card transactions to generate excess overdraft fees. The lawsuit, part of litigation involving more than 30 banks, is pending before U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King in Miami. The customers claimed in the lawsuit that PNC Bank’s computer system resequenced the actual order of debit card and ATM transactions by posting them in highest-to-lowest dollar amount instead of the actual order in which they were initiated. That led to excess overdraft fees.
The PNC isn’t the only bank that has done this sort of thing and gotten caught. Other banks have reached settlements:
• Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canada’s second-largest bank, entered in May a preliminary agreement to pay $62 million to settle overdraft claims.
• In April Citizens Bank agreed to pay $137.5 million.
• In February JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. bank by assets, reached an agreement for $110 million.
Robert C. Gilbert, a lawyer with the Florida firm of Grossman Roth, represented the customers in the PNC litigation. He said in a statement that the settlement will be presented to Judge King for preliminary approval later this summer. Bobby and his firm did a very good job in this case. The case is In re Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, 09-md-02036, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami).
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