Among US' Most Rabid Fee Collectors: Walmart Banks

Top 5 in-store branches among top 10 nationwide
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2014 11:16 AM CDT
Among US' Most Rabid Fee Collectors: Walmart Banks
In this May 28, 2013, file photo, an outdoors sign for Walmart is seen in Duarte, Calif.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Walmart's famously low prices don't extend to the banks that operate inside of it. The five banks that have the most branches within Walmart stores are among the most aggressive fee collectors in the nation, the Wall Street Journal reports. Its analysis revealed that all five were among the top 10 in fees collected as a percentage of deposits. Of the 6,766 banks the Journal examined, only 15 earned more money from fees than from lending—including all five Walmart banks.

Most of those fees are from overdrafts, which some customers are using essentially as high-interest "payday loans." The CEO of Woodforest—the most common Walmart bank—says the company has lowered overdraft fees twice recently, but adds, "I still think they're too high." Walmart tried to get its own banking charter in 2007, but when that failed it began leasing space to other banks. A spokesperson says the company has a "very thorough process" to ensure banks are "in line with Walmart's philosophy of saving customers money." Walmart has also been offering more financial services of its own; last month it rolled out a money transferring service, Forbes reports. (More Walmart stories.)

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