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WISPIRG Foundation
Wisconsin Radio Network
Brian Moon

A new study claims banks are still hiding fees from customers. WISPIRG Program Associate Kyle Bailey says in their nationwide survey of more than 350 bank branches, fewer than half complied fully in disclosing the policy of customer fees. Roughly 25-percent of the branches never provided the information at all.

This not a new trend, according to the public interest group, as its study ten years ago netted similar results. Although the Federal Reserve did not respond to US PIRG’s requests for further investigation, the federal Government Accounting Office issued a secret shopper report in 2008 and could not get the information at nearly a quarter of the banks.

WISPIRG claims these branches are in violation of the Truth in Savings Law of 1991.

But the Wisconsin Bankers Association takes issue with the report. “This isn’t a broad-brush shopping disclosure law,” Rose Oswald Poels, the group’s interim chief executive and legal counsel, tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It’s an account-opening disclosure that requires banks at account opening to give customers a fee schedule.”

On July 21st the CFPB, a federal branch devoted to financial consumer protection, will begin taking a closer look issues like bank fee disclosure. However Bailey says some in Congress have been trying to scale back the agency’s authority or delay its startup date.

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