Customers of SunTrust Banks Inc. (STI), M&T Bank Corp. (MTB) and two other banks can use the federal courts rather than arbitration to pursue claims they were gouged on overdraft fees, a judge ruled.
U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King in Miami said customers with debit cards attached to checking accounts aren’t compelled to use arbitration rather than class-action lawsuits, as the banks argued. A U.S. Supreme Court decision in April on arbitration agreements for AT&T Inc. wireless customers must be applied case by case, the judge said.
Arbitration agreements for SunTrust, M&T, Regions Financial Corp. (RF) and Branch Banking & Trust Co. are “unconscionable” and can’t be enforced, King said in an opinion made public today. He said the Supreme Court ruling in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion didn’t require arbitration in every case.