BancorpSouth settles overdraft lawsuit for $1.75M

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – BancorpSouth has agreed to pay $1.75 million to settle a class action lawsuit related to improper overdraft fees.
The Tupelo-based bank also will make changes to its overdraft practices, according to a court press release.
BancorpSouth officials on Tuesday declined to comment on what the changes are.
The lawsuit alleges that BancorpSouth assessed non-sufficient funds fees and overdraft fees on debit card and check purchases and ATM withdrawals in a number of ways that were “unlawful,” according to a press release from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.
The lawsuit said BancorpSouth resequenced transactions to maximize the number of non-sufficient funds fees and overdraft fees.
The common banking practice means banks process the largest transaction first instead of processing the transactions as they are received.
BancorpSouth, according to the court’s press release, denies all of the plaintiffs’ claims and says it did nothing wrong. Bank officials declined to comment to the Daily Journal.
But the bank on Monday issued this statement: “BancorpSouth is pleased to have received the federal court’s preliminary approval of the settlement of this overdraft class action suit and is looking forward to the final hearing and implementation of the agreed settlement.”
The final hearing is July 30.
Current and former BancorpSouth customers started receiving notification this week about the settlement.
The court’s press release said members of the lawsuit may be eligible for a refund of up to three times the overdraft fees they paid in any continuous 45- day period between May 1, 2004, through Dec. 31, 2011.
More than 350,000 current and former customers are members of the settlement class, according to a Bloomberg story. Current and former customers must submit a claim to receive a benefit.
The deadline is Sept. 13. Customers also can ask to be excluded from or object to the settlement and its terms.
The deadline for exclusions and objections is July 9.
For more information, go to www.BancorpOverdraftSettlement.com, call (877) 841-8162 or write to BancorpSouth Overdraft Settlement, PO Box 3207, Portland, OR 97208-3207.
The case is Melvin L. Thomas III and Billy D. Lawson, Jr., et al. v. BancorpSouth Bank and BancorpSouth Inc., Case No. 1:2012-cv-1016.

carlie.kollath@journalinc.com

What to Know
BancorpSouth will refund some overdraft fees for members of the class action lawsuit. You must submit your claim to be included.
For more information, go to www.BancorpOverdraftSettlement.com, call (877) 841-8162 or write to BancorpSouth Overdraft Settlement, PO Box 3207, Portland, OR 97208-3207.
The case is Melvin L. Thomas III and Billy D. Lawson, Jr., et al. v. BancorpSouth Bank and BancorpSouth, Inc., Case No. 1:2012-cv-1016.