A few years after public and regulatory outcry forced banks to reverse course on overdraft fee hikes, lenders are lifting them again, with economic research firm Moebs Services putting the median fee at $30 in 2013, up $1 from 2012, and $4 from 2009. "Banks have a revenue gap that needs to be recouped," says Bankrate's Greg McBride.
Call it an unintended consequence of new regulation. The Fed in 2010 stopped banks from automatically charging overdraft fees on debit-card and ATM transactions, and among Dodd-Frank's rules is an amendment lowering debit-card fees charged to merchants. Overdraft fees are where the money is in checking, with KBW estimating banks generated $31.9B of overdraft revenue in 2013, well off from a peak of $37.1B in 2009.
Among those hiking: U.S. Bancorp (USB) boosted its fee to $36 from $35 last August and Boston Private Bank (BPFH -0.3%) to $30 from $25.
Banks like Wells Fargo (WFC -0.1%) and JPMorgan (JPM -0.4%) offer overdraft-protection programs where money is transferred from another account to cover the shortfall. The fee at Wells is $12.50 for each day it's used; Chase charges $10.
Boston Private Financial Holdings (BPFH) declares $0.05/share quarterly dividend. Forward yield 2.15%. For shareholders of record Feb. 14. Payable Feb. 28. Ex-div date Feb. 12. The board declares to repurchase shares up to 5% of outstanding shares as of Jan. 16. (PR)
FBR downgrades seven regional banking lenders, pointing to the dismal outlook for interest rates and a "lack of material positive catalysts." Huntington Bancshares (HBAN -4.3%) and Boston Private Financial (BPFH -9.3%) are reduced to Underperform; ZION -3.5%, WAFD -1.4%, NYB -2%, NPBC -3.9% and FULT -2.9% are cut to Market Perform.
The Treasury Department says it will auction warrants in Citigroup (C), Boston Private Financial Holdings (BPFH) and Wintrust Financial (WTFC) during the current quarter. Treasury will sell the warrants, obtained when it provided bailout capital to the banks during the financial crisis, through a modified Dutch-style auction.