Bank of America will pay $772 million over illegal credit-card practices that lured consumers into signing up for added products and services, US regulators said Wednesday. Bank of America will provide about $727 million in relief to consumers harmed by the practices, estimated to number 1.4 million, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said.
The second-largest US bank also will pay a $20 million civil penalty to the CFPB, and a $25 million civil penalty to the Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which co-operated in the case. "We have consistently warned companies about illegal practices related to credit card add-on products," the director of CFPB, Richard Cordray, said in a statement.
"Bank of America both deceived consumers and unfairly billed consumers for services not performed. We will not tolerate such practices and will continue to be vigilant in our pursuit of companies who wrong consumers in this market." BofA marketed two credit card payment protection products - "Credit Protection Plus" and "Credit Protection Deluxe " - from 2010 through 2012, using misleading information such as the cost and benefits of products, the CFPB said.
The bank also sold credit monitoring services for which it illegally charged 1.9 million consumer accounts and, in some cases, the services failed to provide protection. BofA ended the marketing of credit protection in August 2013, and stopped marketing the identity protection products in late 2011.
The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank did not admit or deny any wrongdoing, according to the documents. In a statement acknowledging the agreements, Bank of America said it had already issued refunds to most affected customers. It said it had agreed to refund customers a larger amount than the agencies reported: $738 million. BofA shares were flat at $16.44 in afternoon trade.