Sovereign Bank Overdrafts

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Not Your Neighborhood Bank
Posted by on
ARLINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- I have been banking with Sovereign for a few years. For the most part I had been quite happy with the bank and their services, many of times the "courtesy" of allowing an account overdraw has saved my butt from running out of gas on late night rides home.. in those cases I have been more than happy to pay the 33.00 over draft fee. I know its not responsible banking but nowadays you have to get by any way you can. Last week though, the course of events have left me with a bad taste in my mouth in regards to the policies of the bank. A few days before my issue I had my rent in the bank plus another 40.00 or so. I wrote out the rent check leaving me in my account ledger the 40.00.(I am excellent at keeping my ledger up to date, balanced and its never more that a penny off) I bought something for 2.50 on Thursday night, then gas on Friday morning.

Friday afternoon I went on line and checked my account and it stated after the gas and 2.50 I had 27.83 available. I then called the phone banking and double checked to make sure the numbers matched my ledger, and online- they did to the penny. To go one more step I even got a person on the phone to see if my rent check had cleared. He informed me that all their systems "were at least a day behind", but as far as he could see the rent was not presented. I went to the Atm Machine and took out 20.00 and paid the 1.95 for the foreign ATM service fee leaving my ledger at 5.88. I once again called the phone banking and what was available to my account was the amount of my rent plus 5.88. I checked the ATM receipt and all the numbers matched. I called my electric company and set up a payment knowing that in 30 minutes I would walk into a branch and deposit 2 checks. (they were my fiancee's payroll and income tax return check which he had endorsed over to me before going to work.. he is not on my bank account, but the addresses on his 2 checks are the exact same as the one on my account down to the apartment number)

I know from "bank policy" that if a check is deposited in to an account via teller by two pm 200.00 would be credited to the account right away. doing it in 2 transactions would provide 400.00 right away. I walk into the bank and give the woman the two checks, the woman looks them over and tells me they can not be deposited into my account because my fiancee is not with me. She say I should bring him down and either put him on my account or "he can open his own account with us" I leave very aggravated since I called in the payment already. deciding that there is nothing I can do about it, I decide to deal with it on Saturday morning, because the worst case scenario will be that everything will clear the bank except the electric bill and I would just as always eat the 33.00 fee that gets attached to it. The next morning I look at my account and find that my account had been over drawn 378.00. When I view it in detail I see that the rent was posted and cleared, and then they have the electric bill posted and overdrawn (+33.00) then the 21.95 (+33.00) then 10.00 (+33.00) then 2.50 (+33.00). I call the call center and get a very sweet girl on the phone who asks her manager if the charges can be reversed.

She tells me to go to a branch and talk to someone there. I go to the branch in Belmont MA, and I speak with the woman. After explaining everything to her (including the attempt to make the deposit, which she says was "company policy" She prints out my account activity and tells me that "from the bank's point of view this looks completely justified" (of course it will... its their point of view) She offers to call the bank I opened my account at and see if they will fix it, but the manager is not there. She then gets off the phone and tells me the manager will look it over and decide, but they will most likely say no. I thank her for her time nicely, and she tells me in the future that may be "I should be more responsible with my bank account and ledgers. This ticked me off beyond belief because accord to every other source I checked, it was accurate.. down to the penny. I left angered and insulted but still thanked her for her time.

Later that afternoon my boyfriend calls numerous sovereign banks and asks various people what their policy is in regards to endorsing checks and having having a person deposit into an account he is not on and is not present for the deposit. The first one he called said "that is not a problem at all as long as no one is trying to cash it" My fiancee then explains what happens and the gentleman starts trying to back out of it saying "oh in THAT case then no.." and then hung up on him. Davis Square in Somerville said "no problem" East Somerville said "no problem" He even called Belmont and they said "no problem"!!! Winchester's branch had no idea what the policy was, and chelsea had no clue either. (nice to know that some people don't even know what the company policy is) I then decide to try calling the call center again, and I get another woman. she pulls up my account and states the same "on our end this looks completely justified" (At this point I am beginning to wonder if they have that phrase on posters all over the place.)

Never once losing my temper or even raising my voice I ask her to explain how this even makes sense. She tells me that the bank arranges things when the come through the system from the biggest amount to the smallest amount. Not in order of when a card was used, or a check. All biggest amount to the smallest. I ask her why (if that is the case) does the money get subtracted from the available balance for the debits. she explains that that are pending but not cleared. They take the money away from the balance until they clear, but if something comes in the same night for a larger amount than that item will get posted first and anything smaller will be posted after.

I feel that policy is a little off considering that something bought three days ago will be put after something that came through the night before, but that is their "policy". I appreciated the explanation no matter how unfair I thought it was, and then I asked who do I need to speak to on a higher level to talk about the overdraft charges. She then told me there was no point in speaking to anyone, because if anyone reviewed my account they would see I have a "bad history of overdrawing my account." I then explained that the times it happened I never once disputed it, because I assume responsibility for it. I told her I would pay the electric bill amount and the 33.00 right away, but for the time being I was not going to pay the other 99.00 in fees. I thanked her for her time and ended the call.

On Monday I got a call from the Lowell MA branch, and she told me my account was overdrawn and I needed to correct it right away. I did not bother explaining anything to her because the only answer I was going to get is "on our end this is completely justified" I asked her if the payment to the electric bill was going to be honored or reversed and sent back. She said she was unsure. I asked her if it was reversed and sent back would that take away the electric over draft (she said no)if it is honored I told her I would make arrangements to get this paid off quickly. She went in to explaining that the bank reserves the right to charge me the 5.00 a day until it is paid for up to 60 days. (I felt that was also snide and rude, which finally prompted me to be snide and a bit rude back) I told her I understood that, and I was willing to accept the penalty. She then went on to inform me that after 60 days the account would then go into collections. (I stated that I would pay on the account on a regular basis which would avoid that happening) After a moment of silence she then informed me that I would not be able to open an account at another financial institution until the balance was paid in full.. I then informed her that I had already had a second account at another bank that was in excellent standing, so that would not be a problem either.

So in the end I explained that if they returned my payment to the electric company I would pay them for the overdraft fees and close my account, as soon as I made the payment to the electric company.

This has been a long ordeal, that has been quite frustrating. I know few people look for complaints against banks before they look for one, which is scary. I figured I would write out my experience and hope someone may come across it. if you have tons of money to waste, or have the luxury of never having to check your balances then this bank is perfect for you. If you have a limited income, bills and rent to pay, kids to raise, and you fall in to the category of living paycheck to paycheck, then don't choose this bank. You will find that their fees and "policies" (and/or lack of knowledge by employees of the "policy")will cost you much needed money to pay for more important things like food, shelter, utilities and clothing!
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Anonymous on 03/09/2009:
I hate to say this, because your complaint sounds quite valid, but the fact that you have overdrawn your account in the past likely affected your ability to have the issue resolved. That said, it never ceases to amaze me how American banks seem to play with debits and credits to their own benefit. That would never fly here in Canada. I can only hope that this banking crises brings about change for the better. And to you, best of luck.
Anonymous on 03/09/2009:
The complaint, unfortunately, is not valid at all. I may have missed some details, I gave up reading in the middle of that hundred kine paragraph. You wrote checks (made payments) before you had the funds in your account. That's illegal. Even if the bank had accepted your deposit, it would have been uncollected. Government checks only get immediate credit when depoisted into a payee's account. Third party checks get held, or in the case of government checks, not accepted at all.

It's too bad this has happened to you, since you really do seem to try to keep on top of it, but it would have happened at pretty much any bank. Wherever you end up banking, be sure you take 5 minutes to read through the Funds Availability policy. It will be worth your time.
Ponie on 03/10/2009:
A very simple solution is to not spend more money than you have. Ever hear of a check register? Also, it might help to live within a budget. Looks as though you haven't been doing so if you've paid so much in overdraft fees. OTOH, may some people simply shouldn't have a bank account.
Anonymous on 03/10/2009:
Once again Ken you throw out the 'illegal' accusation and once again you are dead wrong. I agree that bouncing a check can be illegal but as usual that's not the case at hand. She had overdraft protection sufficient to cover the overdrawn amount. Triggering ones overdraft protection is never illegal... NEVER ... EVER.

celerymuncher - Find yourself a local owned and operated bank or credit union. The majority of which don't play these silly sequence transactions to garner the most fees possible and road block deposits games. My local bank NEVER puts a hold on any of my deposits even quite large ones and in fact the funds are immediately available. These national banks are poison. I don't care what anybody says... Their way is no way to do business. Screw them like they've screwed our country. Good review.
yoke on 03/10/2009:
You wrote out more than what was in your account. It is not the banks fault.
Anonymous on 03/10/2009:
I agree with ken and yoke on this one. It seems as if you are used to cutting it really, really close with your bank and in your words, eating an NSF fee every now and then if need be. Banks can and do reject your ability to even have a checking account if you accrue too many NSF fees.

The point is, regardless of what sequence the payments were put through, you essentially set up a payment to your electric company, before the funds were available. You were counting on the two checks in your b/f's name to be deposited, that would cover the electric payment. A lot of banks are now requiring the other person to be in person, with valid ID, if they are not on the account. I think it's a good doesn't matter if he has the same address as you or not, the bank doesn't know that he is giving his permission to deposit them in your account, you could have very easily forged his name...not saying you did, btw, but it does happen.

Collateral5 on 03/10/2009:
This company absolutely sucks. I have had same ordeals where the bank have me overdraft fees even when it was their fault. I am closing it as soon as I withdraw all my money.
yoke on 03/11/2009:
collateral, this was not the banks fault. The OP admitted to making payments knowing the funds were not there.
irritated on 09/18/2013:
Banks process all deposits first then all debits. The reason they process the highest amount debit first is to overdraw your account faster and make more fees on each NSF item.
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Sovereign Will Let You Overdraft Your Life Away
Posted by on
On April 5, 2010, I cashed a live check from my employer at a Sovereign ATM in Boston. The check was for $884, and usually the Sovereign ATM statements tell you both your actual balance, and your available balance, which it did.

I then went home to my sister's for Easter weekend and made several purchases well under $884, not realizing that it would take three business days for my check to clear. (In the past, I had had direct deposit to my checking account, but with my new job, the direct deposit hasn't kicked in yet.)

The following week I was overdrawn in my account, but couldn't figure out why I was missing $280. When I received my monthly statement on my checking account, it showed that I was charged an Unavailable Funds Fee of $35 EIGHT times for purchases I had made after depositing my live check.

I went to a Sovereign and explained that I had clearly made a mistake and wouldn't have intentionally overdrawn my account so much. (Who would?) I also said that I had been with the bank for many years and had been a loyal customer. Since I had cashed a check into my account that was on record, could they refund my fees?

The branch manager I spoke with said that Sovereign never returns bank fees unless it is an error on their part. Then she told me she would "do something I never do" (I'm sure that's part of her script with customers) and return HALF of what I had lost--$140. I agreed to this although I said it was not the best outcome.

I then asked if I could have the overdraft mechanism on my account stopped so that I would simply be denied at a store if there was no money in my account to cover the purchase. The branch manager seemed reluctant to do this and instead offered to open a line of credit for me, where the overdraft fee would only be $10. I agreed, pending approval of my credit, which will take up to a week. And now I am having buyer's remorse on that, because I'm not entirely sure this "line of credit" will ultimately benefit me or Sovereign more. What do you think?

Although I clearly made a mistake when I deposited a live check that took longer to clear than I anticipated, what irks me is that Sovereign ALLOWED me to rack up EIGHT overdraft penalties. What if I had made 20 small purchases before I knew what was happening?

Clearly, Sovereign makes a good income stream on its fees. But what they should do is have a limit to how many times a customer can overdraw their account before their card stops working. If I had been denied at a register while attempting to make my fifth purchase, that would have signaled to me that I had a problem with my account.

It seems to me that Sovereign is in the business of making money and not protecting its customers if it can make buck$ off of them.
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clutzycook on 04/26/2010:
Of course they make good money on your fees. That's why they're reluctant to stop it.
Obsfucation on 04/26/2010:
You will get your wish, starting on August 15th. What's a live check?
bcd on 04/26/2010:
You may want to consider using the opt-out option of the Overdraft Privilege Protection (ODP) program. After August 15th, debit card transactions that would result in an overdraft are thereby declined.
madconsumer on 04/26/2010:
was the check deposited via the atm? if so, checks take longer to clear.
Slagathorn on 04/26/2010:
Did you make sure the money was actually in the account before spending it?
Irritated Sovereign customer on 07/23/2010:
Yeah, and get this... I deposited a big check, had 4 checks come in after the fact and even though I HAVE A LINE OF CREDIT (which would protect me if there were no funds at all in the account) because the deposit hadn't cleared, I was charged $140 for (4 x $35) unavailable funds fee!
So if I hadn't made a deposit, my overdraft protection would have kicked in and no charges!
So I call speak to someone who says "I'll talk to my Manager". Days later, no call back, when I go in I wait 20 min for her to check with her Manager (Used car dealership?) and she says they will refuind 1/2 the fees.
The same thing happened in April and they have to "research" it (another $210)!
This is why I moved my business OUT OF SOVEREIGN BANK.

JTshere on 01/03/2011:
You know what always strikes me funny? Anytime you have a complaing about a bank and overdraft fees, you get these people who like to comment on "well didn't you have the money in there?" Why did you spend it if it wasn't there? It urks me....does the bank have ANY responsibility to SHUT OFF THE OVERDRAFT FUNCTION??? Are they not caring about their customers at all?
PepperElf on 01/03/2011:
it's probably because it's the account holder's responsibility to know how much money they have left in the first place.
Agitated Banker on 01/11/2011:
Instead of pointing fingers, let's focus on protecting yourself. First, if you were not given one at account opening, request a Deposit Account Agreement. It's a pamphlet roughly 30 pages long that explains the bank's policy in detail. I know it's long, but believe me, it's well worth the time it takes to read it. Did you know that when you opened your account you signed the signature card certifying that you received and understand this agreement? Most folks don't...because most of my coworkers don't explain that document or even give it out. Next, ask for a fee schedule, for the same reasons.

The overdraft protection line of credit can be a good line of defense depending on how you use it. However, I doubt the manager explained that it could cost you $12 every time it's used, a $50 annual fee typically starting in the second year, plus 18% APR on any amounts owed. Unless you have Sovereign's Premier checking package (balance requirement $15,000) you will pay a $50 annual fee plus $12 on any day your overdraft protection kicks in. If you overdraw once in a year, you're paying $62 for that credit line...which doesn't even count the interest charged. Without the OD protection, it would cost you $35 for that one OD. Analyze how you're handling your account. If you typically get hit with multiple OD fees in one day, then the credit line makes sense. Count yourself lucky you even qualify for the credit line...the minimum acceptable score is 680.
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Sovereign Bank - RIP OFF & Complete ROBBERY
Posted by on
MASSACHUSETTS -- I was hit with 14 overdraft fees of $35 each in two days time. I was told when signing on to the "opt in" program, I would have the OPTION of approving a "fee" if I wanted to make a transaction. This did not happen. Because I was not informed, my small purchases while holiday shopping all incurred fees. I had a direct deposit the next day which should have taken care of any over drafts and I should have been WARNED that I would potentially have fees to my transactions. My McDonalds dinner for $7 cost me $42. My daughters book I bought her for $8 with a store coupon cost me $43. I was also told when signing on that it would approve only one or two transactions if over draft possibilities. This did not happen. I was shocked to see over $470 or so FEES and paid the bank back those fees the next day. I did not want anymore fees to incur so I paid it. The lady in the bank could credit me only $70 and that was it???? What kind of bank does that? WHere is THEIR responsibility as a bank giving you fair warning. I don't ever bounce transactions and would have NEVER made a chicken sandwich purchase KNOWING IT WOULD HAVE A FEE....outrageous and ridiculous and silly to see 14 fees? What is that? They have no responsibility at all to INFORM YOU? Even my children's bank accounts were incurring monthly $3.50 cent fees WITHOUT ME KNOWING IT until I looked further into our statement. I put a lousy $10 a week in their accounts. I was told that a direct deposit at least once a month would cover any fees and THAT WAS INCORRECT INFORMATION. It seems it is called a "transfer" into an account and it has to be done from one of your other accounts? HUH???? WALK AWAY AND DO NOT WORK WITH SOVEREIGN BANK. THEY HAVE BEEN A HEADACHE FROM THE BEGINNING.

Now I have to go and fight for my money with whom I don't know. I did find there is a class action suit going with
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Anonymous on 12/20/2010:
Sounds like they completely bold faced lie to you to get you to opt into those fees. Do yourself a favor OPT OUT.
Obsfucation on 12/20/2010:
"I don't ever bounce transactions" But you do, in fact many of them. You can, and probably should opt out of OD protection, but be prepared to be in the sitaution of having your card declined when you go to pay for that chicken sandwich. Beyond that, there will come a time when you may wish you could overdraw, for instance to pay for a tow off the highway, but you can't because you opted out.
In the best of all worlds, you'd keep the protection but learn how to manage your account so you'd never have to use it until you want to.

By the way, in regards to being lied to... not so. The verbiage in all the notices and disclosures was dictated by the Feds, and was very clear and specific about what it had to say and how it had to be said.
trmn8r on 12/20/2010:
From the Soveriegn Bank "Opt-In" agreement:
"What fees will I be charged if Sovereign pays an overdraft caused by my ATM or one-time debit transaction?
Under our standard overdraft practices:

We will charge you a fee of up to $35 each time we pay an overdraft.
Also, if your account is overdrawn for 6 or more consecutive business days, we will charge an additional $5 per day.
There is a limit of 6 fees per day we can charge you for overdrawing your account."

I don't see anything in the agreement that states you will have the opportunity to approve a fee, or that you will be warned. The "fair warning" is when you sign the agreement, in my understanding.

Where were the terms that you stated posted? Per this agreement, the only thing I see that didn't make sense was you said you had 14 in 2 days. The agreement would put the max at 12.
JTshere on 12/20/2010:
I did opt "out" the same day that I learned of all the fees. I do think it is the responsibility of the bank to stick with what they told you when signing on. I did not know I was overdrafting and would have not made any of those small purchases. Because they kept tacking on $35 fees, they kept overdrafting the account even more. My direct deposit went in at midnight and I should not have incurred those fees if I did get a warning of "a fee may incur" as I was TOLD by the bank Rep. when signing on. It is definitely something to fool you and it did big time. I worked all week to pay them the money back and will not be getting much for my kids or anyone for the holiday. Yes, I know sob story, but I again would have backed off of any transaction if I was given the warning as told. They failed me. Even with the kids' account I have, I was again told if I did "direct deposit" in which I have on the accounts, I would not incur fees? But I did?
trmn8r on 12/20/2010:
It sounds like you opted in over the phone or at a teller, and a CSR described the procedure to you, best I can guess. I don't see half of what the rep evidently told you in the policy stated at, and I don't know what you can do about it if that is what happened.
JTshere on 12/20/2010:
One other thing, in the Opt In agreement with sovereign, it states a ONE time debit transaction, not it is a bit misleading. And I would think the Rep of the bank should know her information before giving you feedback. I specifically asked this question of getting a "fee will incur" warning. The guideline with the bank is very very slim and does not go into any detail.
Fufu487 on 12/20/2010:
I think it's the responsibility of the consumer to verify the information they were given. The bank can't PROVE the facts you state you were told. did you receive any paperwork?
saj80 on 12/20/2010:
How did you not know you were overdrafting your account? Do you not keep a register with all of your transactions? Please stop blaming the bank and accept responsibility; many of us on this site will blame a bank when they do something wrong, but if you don't know your balance, that's your fault.
CrazyRedHead on 12/21/2010:
It is not the banks job or responsibility to hold your hand and tell you when you are going over your balance. Do you not keep track of your account balance? It is your responsibility as an account holder to keep track of all aspects of your account. I will blame the bank when it is appropriate and this is not one of those times. I opted out of the overdraft program mostly to protect myself, since the last time I overdrafted was due to my inattention to the card I was using. If I would have opted out that transaction would have been declined and my problems wouldn't have happened. When you opt in you allow any and all transactions to come in and then you face the consequences if there isn't enough. I am not with the same bank as you but they have the same rules and policies and the bank you are with. Also, if you write any checks opting out won't protect you if you don't keep an adequate balance.
JTshere on 12/21/2010:
This same bank also previously deducted my transactions not in cronological order. They had taken my large purchases which were done after smaller purchases and this created a domino effect on items bouncing. They had no right to deduct a large purchase first when I made a small purchase and was covered for the amount in the bank. Money was deposited same day to cover the large items, but they took it first to allow for FEES to be tacked on. I had complained of this as well. I am not putting blame for not tracking my money that day, but was informed by a bank "professional" that I would be given notice and would be able to know if I would incur a fee and therefore allow the transaction. So yes, while shopping I was not tracking all things in the one day, but was misled.
Obsfucation on 12/21/2010:
JTshere... you are confused. A one-time debit purchase means a single debit transaction, as opposed to a recurring debit like a monthly gym membership. If you opt out, the one-time debits will be declined. Recurring debits will still get an OD charge.
The bank has every right to post transactions in that order because it is stated that they will in the account agreement that you signed when you opened the account. Your best defense would be to gain some understanding of how the accounts work.
JTshere on 01/03/2011:
Actually the bank does NOT have the right to pick and choose when to take a transaction...they are supposed to deduct them the same order they were taken....there is a class action suit against Sovereign for this exact reason...they do NOT have the right......I will never do business again with them and am fighting for my fees back......they are thieves.
JTshere on 01/03/2011:
obsfucation---you kind of sound like you WORK FOR A BANK...maybe sovereign??? Even your quote above stating "I might need a tow someday and wish I had the opt in program." That's the same example they use on their site to SUCK YOU IN>hmmmm
PepperElf on 01/03/2011:
actually the last I knew they did have the right to pick and chose.

unless laws have changed there's no federal law about it and only the local state laws state whether or not a bank can process the higher amounts first.

and just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean they work for the company. seriously. O_o
Anonymous on 01/03/2011:
No, banks have never had the right to pick and choose which transactions to process. There's always been rules.
JTshere on 01/03/2011:
Moved From Other Review: I was hit with 14 overdraft fees and had tried to get in touch with the "corporate" office and guess what? no one has responded yet.....still waiting for my neighborhood bank to follow up with me....hmmmmmmmmm?
Anonymous on 01/03/2011:
My daughter had some unusual problems with Sovereign when she was trying to close her account because she moved. It was like a bad movie (or post on this web site). She did nothing wrong, but they just couldn't get it together and close her account. It took weeks of back and forth phone calls. I would definitely find a good small bank or credit union and end your relationship with this seemingly shady bank.

Our credit union puts our debits and credits through as they receive them. I think most of the credit unions operate this way from what I've heard.
PepperElf on 01/04/2011:
actually lord you're wrong on that one.
banks CAN pick what order to process them in. the OP was under the misconception that they HAVE to be processed in order.

and again unless the laws have changed that's determined by state and ... if there's no local laws then banks can legally process the higher-amount transactions first.

I know there are some who hate that idea, but I don't know if they've managed to get any federal laws created stopping it.
Anonymous on 01/04/2011:
Pepper, Once again you're reframing what I said. I said "banks have never had the right to pick and choose which transactions to process" which is true.
PepperElf on 01/04/2011:

and since I was replying to the op's complaint about them being out of order, as referenced by his statement: "they are supposed to deduct them the same order they were taken" I am entirely correct.

stop trying to zamboni :)
Agitated Banker on 01/11/2011:
I work for these least until I land another job.

The account protector protects nothing but bank fees. It is the bank's attempt to skirt the new CARD legislation. Banks stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in overdraft fees because of CARD. Sovereign is in the midst of an ongoing campaign to convince customers to allow the bank to charge them fees through enrollment in the Sovereign "Account Protector" (SAP). They attempt to scare you by suggesting your purchases will be declined for important things like groceries. They attempt to mislead you by advertising this program with an image of a woman with an umbrella that says, "Are You Covered?". Once you've been convinced to "opt-in" to this cruddy program, if you overdraw, we're instructed to tell you too fee was your choice to enroll in SAP. We have daily conference calls, sometimes multiple times per day, to report to the upper mucky mucks how many of these things we've forced on people. If we miss our goal, we're often required to stay as long as three hours after close until we have enough SAP's. Then we have to cut the overtime during branch hours when customers need us there. SAP is advertised on your online banking, every teller is instructed to pitch it to every customer with every transaction, your names are on telemarketing lists (with bank employees and third party companies hired by the bank)...and those of you who have overdrawn in the past are specifically targeted. Part of the branch managers' bonus plan is built around what percentage of fees they can retain. They're goaled at 90%...meaning that if they do not retain 90% of all fees charged, they lose out on that portion of their bonus. Mind you, this is only a part of the plan and not even a big part of it...but it still presents a conflict of interest as far as I'm concerned. Managers have an incentive to be stingy on fee refunds.

As always, your first line of defense is to keep accurate balance records. Don't write checks unless the money is in your account...don't play the float game...don't go nuts with the debit card. If you don't manage your finances properly, it's your own fault if you overdraw. The fees are meant to be a deterrant. If you refuse to take responsibility for keeping track of how much money you have, at least get some kind of overdraft protection (connection to savings or a credit line) or, if you don't have money for a savings and/or your credit sucks, at least opt out...please. Don't make it easier for the bank to profit off of your misery.
jktshff1 on 01/11/2011:
In spite of the morality, legality, how much you hate them etc of what the banks are doing, the days of "check kiting" (which is what people are really trying to do) are over. I don't know of too many old timers like myself that haven't done it. The one time I bounced a check, it was the way a new teller had set up the accounts, that was changed and my account was credited.
It boils down to being a responsible person and knowing how much ya got to spend.
tnchuck100 on 01/11/2011:
jkt, RE: "check kiting". What I find despicable is that when we did check kiting it was illegal. When the bank does the equivalent of check kiting (holding a deposited check as long as legally possible) it's all fine and dandy.
jktshff1 on 01/11/2011:
Yep, I agree, but my point is that, in most of these situations, the consumer is running so tight, that they in effect "allow" it to happen. What has become of living within your means and not have the "I got to get that right now regardless of what it costs" syndrome?
Obsfucation on 01/11/2011:
Well Chuck, since the feds set the time limits for a check hold, and since its pretty much (now) just a day, shouldn't your anger be directed towards them?
tnchuck100 on 01/11/2011:
Obs, you're missing what's happening. Again.
Obsfucation on 01/11/2011:
Not a bit Chuck. The fact that I am willing to look at it with an open attitude would seem to indicate that I am seeing more than you allow yourself. You know, it isn't ALWAYS the bank, and your blind invective against them takes away whatever credence your normally intelligent comments would hold.
trmn8r on 01/11/2011:
That is correct - a "direct deposit" is not a transfer from some other account you hold. It is a deposit via the ACH system. You should have asked if a recurring transfer from your own account qualified. Direct deposit is like a payroll check, a Soc Security check, etc.

I have seen a few complaints that say a bank indicated they would "ask" before approving and assessing an OD fee. I have never heard of that and don't know how it would work.

I don't use debit cards ot make purchases for a few reasons. The first is I like to use other people's money (OPM), and pay it back monthly all at once. It is far too costly to risk OD fees for incidental purchases like yours. The laws put in place have no provision for NOT assessing the OD fee for small purchases, so you have to protect YOURSELF by not taking the risk.

This of course is mute if you keep a sufficient balance to cover any items coming in, but most of us do not have unlimited resources. If you can find a bank with free OD protection from a linked account (I use PNC), or can manage your balance better, you can avoid the fees.

Or, do as a bank hugger like me does, and use a credit card instead. Just pay it off every month.

trmn8r on 01/11/2011:
Obsfucation -> well said. Having an open attitude is always the best course of action; if it stretches the mind a bit so much the better.
MotleyCrueGuy on 03/15/2011:
By opting in, you are right then and there authorizing fees if you overdraft.

Other than at an ATM (where it can show on-screen) how would they "warn you" if you're about to overdraft if they're approving the transaction? Do you want them to have the credit card terminal at the store Shout "you are about to overdraft" while you're standing in line?
dave on 04/05/2012:
Sovereign Bank has some of the most penny-wise and dollar-foolish policies I've ever seen, must be morons running this bank. I have two accounts, both interest-free, one a business account with thousands of dollars in it, another a personal account that I pay two checks out of each month. Three weeks ago they hit me with a $35.00 overdraft fee because my balance was $.06 less than the amount of a check that I cashed. Today I see that the account that has been free for the last eighteen years is now costing me $5.00 per month unless I maintain a $500.00 balance. I was never notified of this, they insisted I was and refused to refund the fee (mind you, there are thousands of dollars in my other account). So, after 18 years, today I closed my personal account and filed a complaint with the attorneys general office (like that will do any good), and the business account will be closed within two weeks, as soon as I open a new one elsewhere. Can't trust them not to steal my money anymore, and of course they do it with the blessing of our wonderful American government.
Shakayra on 07/10/2014:
I being trying to get overdraft
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Don't Bank Here Unless You Want To Be Robbed
Posted by on
LAQNSDALE, PENNSYLVANIA -- My review is about Sovereign Bank and there overdraft fees. I overdrew my account by about 19$ a week ago. No one from the bank called me to tell me that there was a problem with the account. As a result my husband and I kept using the account to pay bills. Well guess what, we have been slapped in the face with 16 33$ overdraft fees. I am so angry right now it is not even funny. I wish I could use some expletive words but I won't. We have a baby on the way is this is the way they treat someone they think of as a good customer? I am paying this debt off and closing all accounts with them.

All take what is left of our money to a credit union. I am totally done with the banking system and it's robbery of blue collar workers.
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User Replies:
Cyane on 05/20/2009:
If you don't keep an accurate account register, you're going to run into this problem with every bank you give your business to.
BEJ on 05/20/2009:
It is your responsibility to monitor your bank account and to stop writin checks when you do not have the funds.. It is not the responsibility of the bank. No one is to blame but you.
Slimjim on 05/20/2009:
Wow, that sounds like a lot of bills were written after the account had been drained. You can't just write checks out until the bank says uncle. Cyane is correct, nothing will change unless you start keeping track of your spending.
msnanny on 05/20/2009:
Good luck in finding a credit union that will call you when you overdraft your account.
madconsumer on 05/20/2009:
"No one from the bank called me to tell me that there was a problem with the account. As a result my husband and I kept using the account to pay bills."

so really what you are saying, you spent more money than you knew you had.
Suusan B. on 05/20/2009:
The mere fact that you expected the bank to call your when you originally overdrafted tells me that you need an education on banking. And then to write approximately 16 checks that all overdrafted says that you need to maintain a check register.
BokiBean on 05/20/2009:
Hey, when you overdraft, its your responsibility to know it. The bank will eventually let you know, but to write 16 checks past an overdraft is just mismanagement or blatant abuse. Your call.
yoke on 05/20/2009:
Since when do banks call to tell you you have overdrawn your accout. You could hve checked your account online to see that.
Stephaniespc on 01/25/2010:

I'm starting a myspace and putting peoples complaints in blogs
Not that it will effect anything but I do plan to link it to everything and it is public. I just started it so feel free to join in with ideas.. A Facebook and twitter will also be following...
PepperElf on 01/25/2010:
whose complaints?

and are you posting them yourself or are you expecting them to come to your site to post?
cos you might need their permission to repost like that
grammy2 on 06/11/2010:
Sovereign is horrible! They will find anyway to charge fees, and not notify you. Crazy what they get away with - which is why I put all my real money in Univest. Their customer service is unbelievable!! ANY problem, they will call you and let you know, not charge you fraudulent fees. Go with Univest, seriously
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