Customers sue Bank of Hawaii over overdraft fees

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Bank of Hawaii has been sued by customers alleging the bank used “unfair and deceptive” overdraft fee practices.

Honolulu residents Lodley and Tehani Taulava are accusing the bank of systematically re-ordering debit card transactions from highest dollar amount to lowest dollar amount.

A class action lawsuit filed on their behalf in state Circuit Court Tuesday says this practice allowed the bank to deplete the customer’s available funds as quickly as possible while maximizing the number of overdraft fees.

Bank of Hawaii spokesman Stafford Kiguchi told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the bank is aware of customers’ concerns about overdraft fees. He says the bank changed its policy last month. But until then, it had been a common practice based on the belief the higher debits were someone’s mortgage, tuition or car payments.