Wells Fargo lost a major court ruling Tuesday concerning practices related to its overdraft fees. According to court documents, a federal judge ordered Wells Fargo to pay customers $203 million in restitution for claims that it had manipulated transactions to maximize the overdraft fees it charged.
Instead of processing transactions in the order in which they were received, Wells Fargo put through the largest to smallest wrote Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court. The opinion was 90 pages.
“The bank’s dominant, indeed sole, motive was to maximize the number of overdrafts and squeeze as much as possible” out of customers who spent more than they had in their accounts, the judge wrote. The ruling comes after a two-week trial in the spring heard by the judge.
Wells Fargo, which collected nearly $1.8 billion in overdraft fees in California alone from 2005 to 2007, said it would appeal.
“We’re disappointed with the judge’s ruling,” said Richele Messick, a bank spokeswoman. “We don’t believe the ruling is in line with the facts of the case.”