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BancorpSouth overdraft settlement credits, checks going out

By DENNIS SEID
Daily Journal

TUPELO – Some former and current BancorpSouth customers are receiving either credit to their accounts or checks in their mail.

In January, BancorpSouth settled a lawsuit for $24 million involving overdraft fees the bank charged to customers from a period beginning about 2003 to 2010 in the bank’s eight-state territory. In Mississippi, customers who were charged two or more overdraft fees between May 18, 2007 to Aug. 3, 2010 were part of the settlement.

The credits and checks, varying in amount began being issued the week of Oct. 21.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in May 2010 by an Arkansas customer of the bank, challenged the way BancorpSouth posted the order of debit card and ATM transactions. The suit said BancorpSouth posted the transactions from higher amounts to lower amounts, rather than chronological order. In doing so, that sent some accounts into overdraft status, and BancorpSouth collected an inordinate amount of overdraft fees, the suit alleged.

BancorpSouth maintained it was following all applicable laws and regulations and terms of its account agreements.

Nevertheless, rather than draw out the case in court, BancorpSouth settled the suit without having to admit wrongdoing.

Any objections to the settlement were due by June 2 of this year, and on July 15, final approval was given to the settlement.

BancorpSouth account holders have been getting credits to their account, while former account holders are getting checks. The amount of the credits or checks vary, based on the number of people in the suit and the amount of overdraft fees they paid.

People getting credits or checks received in 2013 a “Notice of Pendency of Class Action” either through mail or email. Those who did not opt out by the deadline were included in what is called the “settlement class” and were part of the class action lawsuit.

“Unless you excluded yourself, you gave up the right to sue BancorpSouth for the claims that the settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from this Settlement Class in order to try to pursue your own lawsuit,” according to the settlement administrator.

The $24 million settlement includes fees to the attorneys. The “class counsel” requested up to 35 percent of the money in the settlement fund for attorneys’ fees, plus reimbursement of their expenses incurred in connection with prosecuting this case. The fees and expenses awarded by the court have been paid out of the settlement fund.

dennis.seid@journalinc.com

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