Associated Bank announces settlement

The parent company of Associated Bank said Monday it will pay $13 million to settle a class action lawsuit that accuses the bank of manipulating checking-account overdraft fees.

Associated Banc-Corp admitted no liability while providing the money in the hope of settling all claims. The lawsuit was filed last year in Wisconsin but moved to federal court in Florida, where similar overdraft lawsuits against banks in the U.S. have been consolidated.

Associated disclosed the proposed settlement, which still needs court approval, in a filing with securities regulators Monday. A spokeswoman for Associated was not immediately available.

In the lawsuit, Pamela Harris, identified only as a resident of Wisconsin, alleged Associated charged its customers an overdraft fee of $37 — even if overdrawn by only a few dollars — to process debit transactions instead of declining or warning customers when there were insufficient funds in a checking account. The lawsuit contends Associated reordered debits from highest to lowest to maximize the number of overdrafts and fees.

Green Bay, Wis.,-based Associated has 270 offices in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota, including five branches in Rochester.

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