Nichols Addresses Bank Fees, Overdraft, ESG Issues in Summit Keynote

In his opening remarks at the 2022 American Bankers Association Washington Summit, ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols laid out the association’s advocacy priorities and pushed back against some misconceptions about the banking industry that have made their way into policy conversations in recent days.

Specifically, Nichols noted that despite recent criticism from the CFPB and others on bank fees, a new ABA/Morning Consult poll found that a majority of consumers—83%—believe their bank is transparent when disclosing fees, and that 62% believe the fees charged by their bank are reasonable. “Acknowledging that no one likes fees, those are powerful numbers,” Nichols added. “We know that our large, diverse, transparent and highly competitive financial services marketplace is one of the things that makes the U.S. financial system the envy of the world—and as this data clearly shows, Americans know it, too.”

Nichols also pointed out that there is broad agreement among consumers about the value of overdraft, with 89% saying they find it valuable. “A strong majority say it’s reasonable for a bank to charge a fee for an overdraft,” he said, citing the ABA/Morning consult data. “And finally, a majority of consumers would oppose a government proposal that prevents banks from offering overdraft protection.”

Turning to environmental, social and governance issues, Nichols shared ABA’s view that “regulators should not seek to use the banking industry as a tool to regulate, restrict or favor one industry over another, and we will continue to make that case as these conversations continue.”