Banks Get $1B From Overdrafts; Bill Gross Lands Smithsonian Spot: Finance Winners & Losers


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Big banks made big money in the first quarter off clients who didn't have the cash to cover their debit-card purchases, a report showed. Morgan Stanley's (MS) debt rating jumped two notches to A3, and the Smithsonian received a gift from Bill Gross.

Today's losers in the world of finance might include you: Let this be a reminder to doublecheck your balance before you swipe your debit card again. The top three banks collected $1.14 billion in overdraft and related fees during the first quarter of 2015, according to SNL Financial, a financial data firm.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) collected $415 million, Bank of America (BAC) collected $371 million and Wells Fargo (WFC) collected $355 million. Banks with more $1 billion in assets are required to report overdraft fees charged to customers to the FDIC. 

The typical fee is around $35 which would suggest more than 30 million overdraft charges in the first quarter alone.

JPMorgan closed down 42 cents at $65.78, Bank of America closed down 17 cents at $16.50 and Wells Fargo closed down 25 cents at $55.96.

Morgan Stanley's long-term issuer rating moved two steps up Moody's ratings, Bloomberg reported. The uptick is tied both to a change in Moody's methodology as well as Morgan Stanley's "slow and steady approach to profitability improvements," David Fanger, a Moody's analyst, told the news service.

"The two-notch upgrade is an important codification of all the work we have done and the consistency of our results," Wesley McDade, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley, told Bloomberg in an emailed statement. Morgan Stanley has taken a more conservative approach with its business since the financial crisis and has invested more heavily in its retail brokerage arm which provides a more consistent flow of fees.

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