A Purpose Bigger Than Banking

Why Movement Bank Eliminated Its Overdraft Fees

June 30, 2022

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One year ago today, Movement Bank eliminated its overdraft fees, sparking change within the financial industry. But the question is why?

 

With a legacy and mission in service, Movement Bank believes we can do more to bridge the gap between those with ample resources and those trying hard to build their financial lives. We aim to reverse the unhealthy relationship some have with their banks — where bankers win when customers lose — by offering something better.

To that end, Movement Bank proudly announced, on June 30th, 2021, that we were turning the tide on the banking industry’s practice of charging overdraft fees. June 30, 2021 marked the day  customers of Movement Bank would no longer experience fees for insufficient funds.

For decades, the banking industry has seen NSF fees — also known as overdraft fees — as a reliable revenue stream. We see them differently: a way of penalizing someone when the current balance in their checking account is insufficient to fully cover a transaction. Before online shopping and debit card usage became the norm, this was widely referred to as a “bounced check.”

Facts about NSF fees in the U.S.

While they vary by institution, NSF fees typically hover around $35 per instance. Households that are already struggling are often hit hardest, with nearly 50% having experienced overdrafts in 2020, averaging just under ten overdrafts per household. That’s almost $350 annually, charged to people who often can’t afford it.

Forbes recently reported that 95% of 2020’s overdraft fees were charged to households that are struggling financially. These households spent 13% of their income on bank fees and interest for everyday financial services, according to a 2021 report from the Financial Health Network. That’s compared to 5% for households coping financially and just 1% for the financially healthy. Each year, billions in fees are paid by vulnerable and coping households.

No more creating profit from misfortune.

With a purpose that is bigger than banking, we decided “no more.” We’re not interested in capitalizing on a customer’s misfortune. Instead, we continue to introduce products and resources to empower our customers for long-term financial stability.

“This is one of our first steps in fulfilling our “A Purpose Bigger Than Banking” mission,” says Movement Bank President and CEO David Rupp. “Penalizing customers when they are facing challenging circumstances doesn’t help anyone.”

How this impact Movement Bank checking account customers:

If our banking customers do not have enough money in an account to cover a transaction, we return that transaction, and the customer will not be charged a fee. This prevents customer accounts from going further into the negative and saves the customer from accumulating overdraft fees. We also help our customers avoid declined transactions by offering a $500 low-cost line of credit (subject to credit approval), even for those with below-average credit.

In addition to eliminating NSF fees, Movement Bank launched product changes and educational sessions to help customers avoid the challenge of account overdrafts and manage their money more effectively.

Below are a few tips on how to avoid overdraft fees from happening:

  • Set up Automatic Account Balance Alerts
  • Keep a Checking Account Register
  • Enroll in Overdraft Protection from Savings
  • Apply for Overdraft Protection Line of Credit

 

For more information on the research we’ve compiled about overdraft fees:
Download the Overdraft Fee White Paper

To open an account with us today and join our movement of change, visit our Personal Banking section to learn more about our BankOn-Certified Low-Cost checking account, Primary Savings, and Money Markets accounts.


About the Author

Movement Bank is dedicated to producing quality content that informs and educates readers about healthy financial habits. On our blog you'll also find information about our products, services, and promotions that may help you on your financial journey. To browse and learn more, visit our blog directly at movementbank.com/blog.