A report released by MacArthur grantee the Center for Responsible Lending on the amount of overdraft fees collected by banks and credit unions helped prompt some of the nation's biggest banks, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan Chase, to modify overdraft and other service fees. The report, Overdraft Explosion, finds that banks and credit unions collected nearly $24 million in overdraft fees in 2008, a 35-percent increase in two years. The report also reveals how automatic overdraft protection programs for debit card holders and other fees harm millions of households, especially lower-income families and senior citizens. As a result of the report, some banks now allow customers to opt out of overdraft protection plans, while others have limited the amount of these fees. On October 20, new federal legislation was introduced to mandate even greater consumer protection. The Center’s report generated coverage and editorials in media outlets including NBC News, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Community & Economic Development
Helping to increase social and economic opportunities for low-income Chicagoans, MacArthur supports the New Communities Program, a comprehensive community revitalization effort in 16 Chicago neighborhoods, as well as communication of its lessons learned to other cities and the field.