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Bank customers fork over $2.5B in overdraft fees

Ron Antonelli | Bloomberg | Getty Images. Berkshire Hathaway has applied to the Federal Reserve to keep and perhaps expand its Wells Fargo holding beyond 10 percent.

If you've been stung by overdraft fees over the past couple of months, lots of other people feel your pain.

So many, in fact, that three of the largest U.S. banks alone collected in the first quarter of 2015 more than $1.1 billion in penalties and fees related to overdrafts, according to SNL Financial, which gathered records after banks started breaking out the charges this year.

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) were the largest players of about 600 banks in total that received some $2.51 billion. They are three of the four biggest banks in the U.S. Representatives for the three did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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While it sounds like a significant amount of money, overdrafts amounted to less than 6 percent of noninterest income for the three. However, that wasn't the case for all the banks.

In the case of Woodforest National Bank, TD Bank and First National Bank of Texas, overdraft fees amounted to more than 30 percent of noninterest income.

SNL pointed out that some banks are getting in trouble when it comes to the fees. In April, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined Regions Financial (NYSE: RF) $7.5 billion for unlawful overdraft practices, after allegations that the bank charged customers who had not opted in to overdraft coverage, and for charging fees on a deposit advance program after saying it wouldn't.





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