Financial Regulatory Forum

Citigroup settles dispute with New York state, extends “free” checking

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Citigroup IncĀ  has shelved plans to impose new fees on more than a million customers nationwide who took out “free checking” accounts with its Citibank unit, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said.

The New York-based bank’s agreement with Cuomo’s office requires Citigroup to extend free checking through 2010 for consumers who signed up for its “EZ Checking” and “Access” checking accounts between Jan. 1 and Nov. 5, 2009. Citigroup will also not charge fees on checks through Jan. 31, 2011.

Cuomo said the bank had planned beginning on Monday to assess monthly fees, typically $9.50, plus per-check charges of 50 cents or $1 to account holders whose balances fell below $1,500. He said the settlement saves customers tens of millions of dollars.

“Let all banks take notice: If you are going to change terms, and you think you are going to increase the fees you are charging consumers, make sure you do it legally, make sure you respect the consumers’ rights, and make sure you give notice,” Cuomo said on a conference call.

“Free checking means free checking,” he added.

Citigroup spokesman Mike Hanretta said the bank was pleased to settle. The bank denied any law violations, the settlement agreement shows.

Bank of America, U.S. SEC say execs not liable on Merrill bonuses

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis in this  February 11, 2009 file photo. Bank of America Corp shareholders voted to oust Lewis as chairman of the board on April 29, 2009 after months of mounting criticism of his stewardship of the largest U.S. bank. REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission made a third and perhaps final push to convince a federal judge to approve a settlement over the alleged misleading disclosure of Merrill Lynch & Co bonuses, saying executives should not be charged.


NY’s Cuomo may charge Bank of America executives over Merrill

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo answers questions during a news conference held on Wall Street in New York October 15, 2008. NEW YORK, Sept 8 (Reuters) – New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo threatened on Tuesday to file charges accusing top Bank of America CorpĀ  executives of failing to disclose essential details about its takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co.


Bonuses topped profits at some U.S. bailout banks – NY attorney general

AIG/CUOMO By Grant McCool

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bonuses paid to executives at nine banks that received U.S. government bailout money in 2008 were greater than net income at some of the banks, the office of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday.