Johnson alleged that BOKF’s collection of “extended overdraft charges” (fees charged to customers who overdraw on their checking accounts and fail to timely pay the bank for covering the overdraft) were “interest” within the meaning of the National Bank Act. The Fifth Circuit rejected her claim, giving Auer deference to an interpretive letter of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and noting as to the relevant considerations:
- Authoritative. The letter was drafted by the OCC’s chief counsel, in response to a bank’s request for OCC guidance, and thus “bears the hallmarks of an official interpretation by OCC.”
- Within the agency’s substantive expertise. OCC administers the National Bank Act, the letter “appears aimed at providing assurance to regulated parties,” and did not appear to merely take a “convenient litigating position.”
- Fair and considered judgment. The letter “is neither plainly erroneous nor inconsistent with the regulations it interprets.”
No. 18-11375 (Sept. 29, 2021).