Wells Fargo seeks arbitration rather than court hearing for overdraft lawsuits

FILE - In this May 6, 2012, file photo, a Wells Fargo sign is displayed at a branch in New York. In the results of an investigation released Monday, April 10, 2017, Wells Fargo's board of directors has blamed the bank's most senior management for creating an "aggressive sales culture" at Wells that eventually led to the bank's scandal over millions of unauthorized accounts. (AP Photo/CX Matiash, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — A group of Wells Fargo customers who say they were victims of unfair overdraft practices want their claims heard in court, but the bank wants the disputes handled through arbitration.

Class-action lawsuits filed around the country have accused Wells Fargo of changing the order of debit card transactions in a way that unfairly maximized overdraft penalties.

The lawsuits say the bank reordered transactions in a given day from highest to lowest dollar amount, thereby increasing the number of transactions eligible for overdraft fees.

The litigation, which has dragged on for more than eight years, is now before a federal judge in Florida who declined to order that the claims be handled in arbitration. Wells Fargo appealed that ruling to Atlanta’s 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments Thursday.

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