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Wendy Reuer, Published April 10 2012

Underwood woman files class-action lawsuit against Gate City Bank, alleging improper overdraft fees

FARGO – An Underwood woman has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Gate City Bank for improper overdraft charges.

A complaint filed by attorneys for Amber Pieloor accuses Gate City Bank of changing the sequence of customers’ debit card transactions in order to charge excessive overdraft penalties.

In other words, larger transactions would be processed first and deplete customer’s balances. Smaller transactions could then cause multiple overdrafts.

The complaint alleges there are more than 100 possible plaintiffs – possibly tens of thousands – nationwide and more than $5 million “in controversy.”

Gate City President and CEO Steve Swiontek denies the allegations and said the bank will vigorously defend itself, KFGO reported.

Court documents said banks and credit unions collected nearly $24 billion in overdraft fees in 2008, a 35 percent increase since 2006.

The amount of damages being sought was not specified.

Gate City Bank is a $1 billion company with 32 branch locations throughout North Dakota, court documents say.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530