Analysis: New Yorkers paid $1.6 billion in bank fees since start of pandemic

A first-ever analysis reveals just how much banks charged New Yorkers in fees during the pandemic -- a time when many were suffering hardships.
According to the New York State Community Equity Agenda, banks have taken $1.6 billion in fees from New Yorkers, including $120 million from Long Islanders since the start of the pandemic. Fees include overdraft, ATM and maintenance.
Jimmy Grant, of Roosevelt, says the banks are robbing people.
"Oh, they are definitely robbing us," says Grant. "Definitely robbing us."
Lisa Tyson, director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, says the banks typically target minority and low-income account holders.
"It's horrifying," says Tyson. "To think when people don't have food on the table, when they're scared, to think that didn't stop overdraft fees. To think that they haven't tried to help people."
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is now calling for the passing of the New York Public Bank Act that they say would pave the way for local governments to create their own publicly owned financial institutions.
"We need to take control of our own lives with our own money," says Tyson. "It is our money that's being invested. We should control where it goes."
Tyson says the time to take control is now.