LA Times: BofA joins Chase, Citibank in Simplifying Checking Disclosures
- Safe Checking in the Electronic Age
- August 29, 2012
Pressured by consumer advocates and Congress, most of the nation's big banks are now providing consumers a one-page form listing basic terms and conditions for checking accounts, with Bank of America Corp. the latest to join the trend.
Last December, JPMorgan Chase & Co. became the first major bank to adopt a plain-language form proposed by an arm of the Pew Charitable Trusts. Citibank did the same in July, simplifying its presentation about such factors as fees for ATMs, overdrafts and account closings.
In an announcement early Wednesday, Pew and Bank of America said BofA would do the same, boiling down its former two-page summary to the single page suggested by the Philadelphia nonprofit group.
Pew lauded the decision by BofA, the second-largest U.S. bank after Chase, as measured by assets.
"Now, millions more Americans can obtain essential financial information in an easy-to-understand format," said Susan Weinstock, director of Pew's Safe Checking in the Electronic Age Project. "We urge other financial institutions to follow suit."
The form was developed after Pew analyzed 250 types of checking accounts last year. Few bank customers would ever plow their way through formal descriptions of checking accounts -- the median length of the full disclosures at the 12 largest banks was 69 pages, Weinstock said.
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