Wisconsin bank settles overdraft case, joins BofA

Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:52pm EST

* Associated Banc-Corp unit to pay $13 mln

* More than two dozen lenders sued over overdraft fees

* Bank of America settled for $410 million

Nov 28 (Reuters) - A unit of Wisconsin lender Associated Banc-Corp has agreed to pay $13 million to settle consumer litigation accusing it of charging excessive overdraft fees.

The settlement by Associated Bank NA was disclosed in a filing on Monday with the U.S. district court in Miami, and requires approval by U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King.

That judge oversees litigation from across the country over the fees, in cases brought against more than two dozen U.S., Canadian and European lenders such as JPMorgan Chase & Co , Citigroup Inc and Wells Fargo & Co .

Earlier this month, Bank of America Corp won final approval of a $410 million settlement of similar charges.

Union Bank, part of Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc , reached a $35 million settlement this month, while BOK Financial Corp , the parent of Bank of Oklahoma, reached a $19 million accord, court records show.

In the litigation, consumers accused lenders of routinely processing transactions from largest to smallest rather than in chronological order.

This can cause account balances to fall more quickly, and overdraft fees, typically $25 or $35, to pile up faster.

Last year, the Federal Reserve barred banks from charging the fees on electronic and debit card transactions without advance customer approval. Critics have said the fees disproportionately burden customers with lower incomes or balances.

Associated Banc-Corp is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The case is In re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, No. 09-md-02036.

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