Manufacturers & Traders Trust Company (M&T Bank) has agreed to entry of a Consent Order with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) agreeing to pay a minimum of $2.245 million dollars and implement a variety of non-monetary procedures resulting from M&T Bank's advertising of a "free checking" account product. The CFPB determined M&T Bank had deceptively advertised a free checking account product to customers by withholding important eligibility information.
The CFPB concluded that between 2009 and 2012 M&T Bank deceptively advertised the checking account as being free with "no strings attached," but did not disclose in its advertisements that a minimum monthly balance was required nor that customers had to maintain a minimum level of account activity. M&T Bank automatically converted customers who failed to qualify to another checking account product resulting in monthly maintenance fees ranging from $5 to $14 dollars per month.
This is the CFPB's first Consent Order and settlement involving deceptive marketing of checking accounts.