WASHINGTON, D.C. (Legal Newsline) — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that Santander Bank N.A. will pay $10 million for its alleged illegal overdraft service practices.

Santander allegedly marketed and enrolled consumers in its “Account Protector” overdraft service and charged them $35 per overdraft.

The CFPB alleged that Santander signed consumers up for overdraft services without consent, deceived them about the free price of the overdraft service and about the fees they would face if they did not opt in, falsely claimed the call was not a sales pitch, and failed to stop deceptive telemarketer tactics.

In 2010, federal rules were created that barred banks from charging overdraft fees for ATM and one-time debit card transactions unless consumers opted in.

“Santander tricked consumers into signing up for an overdraft service they didn’t want and charged them fees,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said. “Santander’s telemarketer used deceptive sales pitches to mislead customers into enrolling in overdraft service. We will put a stop to any such unlawful practices that harm consumers.”

Santander, a national bank with headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, operates close to 700 retail branches in the northeast.

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