The recently announced policies by banks seemed too little, too late for federal regulators and lawmakers who say tougher rules should be imposed.

By the end of the year, the Federal Reserve is expected to issue new regulations on overdrafts. Congressional Democrats say they want new rules codified into law.

During Friday's hearing, consumer advocates hailed the proposed law while bank representatives said it was unnecessary.

Michael Menzies, president of Maryland's Easton Bank and Trust Company, said eliminating overdraft protection for many customers will mean denying charges and embarrassing customers or forcing them to rely on high-cost payday lenders.

"While community banks always seek to treat customers honestly, the same expectations must hold true in reverse: customers should not ¿ and generally do not ¿ expect a free pass when a bank covers their overdrafts," Menzies said.
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