Woodforest Bank: Finding Inventive Ways To Rip Off Customers

The large print giveth and the small print taketh away

Who doesn't love how banks charge overdraft fees? Getting every single cent out of harassed and cash-strapped customers?

It's a work of art, it is, and the Michelangelo of it all just might be Woodforest Bank of The Woodlands.

The bank, whose branches are in Walmarts and grocery stores, has settled a case with the feds by agreeing to refund $32 million in overdraft fees to its customers.

The beauty part: Woodforest's fine print contained a recurring fee for overdrafts

That kind of made it hard for customers to get their accounts current, when they weren't aware the bank was continuously hitting them.

Woodforest also charged the plain old excessive overdraft fees on individual actions, said the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

In addition, in its marketing brochures the bank emphasized the free or low cost features of certain accounts while omitting information about costly features such as overdraft protection.

The bank's marketing also suggested that certain accounts were well-suited for consumers who had previous difficulty in managing their bank accounts, while omitting information about the high-cost features of its overdraft protection.


In a statement, Woodforest CEO Robert Marling said there was nothing to see here, move along, and they would have fought this to the death if lawyers weren't so darn expensive.

While we believe that Woodforest has complied with applicable laws and regulations, we have agreed to the settlement terms with the OCC to avoid a protracted, costly and distracting legal dispute, which would not have been in the best interests of our customers, employees, and shareholders,. We are glad to be able to put this issue behind us and focus all our attention and abilities on serving customers well."

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