David Lazarus has another update on the controversy surrounding Bank of America's and Wells Fargo's charging non-account holders fees to cash their paychecks here in California.
Class action lawsuits are scheduled to be filed against Bank of America and Wells Fargo by California businesses who now find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Attorneys and consumer advocates have observed that class-action suits were all but inevitable - once the violation of the state labor code came to light, thousands of California employers were immediately subject to fines of more than $100 for every paycheck reduced by a fee.
Employers were left holding the bag because the banks insisted that they're beyond the reach of state regulations on this matter. The suits seek injunctions barring the banks from charging the paycheck-cashing fees and a refund of all such fees already paid.
A Visalia (Tulare County) nonprofit called Karis House, which runs six homes for troubled teens, was expected to file suit against Bank of America yesterday. The organization has 60 employees, about a dozen of whom do not have personal bank accounts.
A suit against Wells Fargo is being brought by a Bakersfield firm called Ability Answering-Paging Service, which has 65 employees, about 10 of whom do not have personal bank accounts. The suit is expected to be filed by the end of the week.
Both plaintiffs are being represented by Nick Roxborough, a Los Angeles attorney specializing in unfair trade practices.
The state Senate Banking Committee is holding a special hearing on the paycheck-cashing fees in San Francisco City Hall on Monday, April 26, at 6 p.m. All interested parties are invited to attend.