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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bank of America Adopts Simpler Checking Account Disclosure


Bank of America recently became the last of the three biggest United States banks to adopt simplified checking account disclosures, as advocated by an arm of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Chase and Citibank have already adopted such disclosures, as have roughly a dozen smaller banks and credit unions. Pew's Safe Checking in the Electronic Age project originally proposed a one-page format, but most banks have had to use at least two pages.

With the addition of Bank of America, five of the 12 largest banks have adopted the simplified format, Susan Weinstock, director of the checking project, said in a statement. “We urge other financial institutions to follow suit,” she said.

The format uses plai n language and makes it easier for consumers to see what sort of fees an account charges and to compare various banks' offerings. Most banks still use lengthy disclosures filled with legal jargon that is difficult for customers to decipher. A Pew report found that disclosure documents among the nation's 12 largest banks had a median length of 69 pages.

Does your bank use a simplified disclosure?