As reported by American Banker, and released by the Pew Charitable Trusts, most of America’s big banks still don’t offer an understandable outline of their checking account costs and fees.

The report singled out BB&T, HSBC Finance Corp., Regions Financial and Capital One Financial Corp. as banks who neglected to report overdraft fees on checking account home pages or on their web pages, which outline their various checking account services.

Many people are under the impression that the problem is caused by people who spend more money than they have.  Fair enough, that is true.  But almost as many people are under the belief that when a store “runs” your debit card and it is approved, that means that there are enough funds in your account to cover the transaction.  This is not the case.  Banks regularly allow users to overdraw their accounts in order to increase fees.

In the same story, it was reported that the fees were disclosed in writing at the bank branches.  As more and more people conduct banking online, that would seem to be an old-fashioned way to communicate with your customers, don’t you think?

The charitable group, Pew’s Charitable Trusts, recommends that all banks create a uniform box that would be similar to nutrition labels used by foods.  They feel this would allow for easy comparisons on the part of consumers.

There’s more.  Pew found that the 12 largest banks also force consumers into binding arbitration, thus effectively eliminating a jury trial and the possibility of a class action lawsuit.  Numerous banks also had language that effectively throws all costs of consumer action right back on the consumers.  Win or lose.

Keep in mind that this report in filed in 2012 and not in 2006.  It really does seem as if the banks have learned nothing.  So when the CFPB forces changes on them, how loud do you think they will whine?  Unlike, the payday loan industry, they seem relatively incapable of policing themselves.

This information can be found in the Pew report: "Still Risky: An Update on the Safety and Transparency of Checking Accounts."