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Revenge of the Big Banks

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Revenge of the Big BanksThe financial reform bill passed by Congress includes restrictions on overdraft fees & limits “swipe fees” banks can charge stores. But the Senate blocked an amendment from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) to restrict ATM fees.

So guess what? To protect its multibillion dollar profits, Citibank just sent me a letter that it’s eliminating the thing that got me to sign up in the first place – free use of non-Citibank ATMs. Seemed like a good deal for both sides – Citibank got me to sign up & bank entirely online so it didn’t have to waste money on a location or tellers, I got to use any ATM I wanted. Now Citibank is reneging on its end of the deal (and I’m keeping my eyes open for a new one – if anyone loves their bank, please recommend it in comments.)

But I’m one of the lucky ones. Citibank & other big banks are also jacking up fees for people who don’t keep a high minimum balance or whose direct deposit is small. Those fees could reportedly reach up to $240 a year.

Obviously, if you can’t afford to keep a minimum balance or your direct deposit is small, you’re also going to be hit hardest by higher fees. Imagine losing your job & watching your checking account dwindle – only the lower it gets, the faster it evaporates thanks to minimum balance fees.

  • blue bronc

    Recently I was looking for a new bank.  After reading what the “Financial Reform Bill” did and the reaction by the Wall Street banks I decided I would not even bother looking at them. A local bank is what I wanted.

    The bank I chose has many different checking accounts one of which was perfect for me. No fee checking, no ATM fees when using one of thousands of ATM’s in a big network, and they have a solid history going back almost 100 years.

    Until there is a return to bank regulation and separation of banks and Wall St. the biggest of the giants will do whatever they want. And, there is little we can do but find and elect people who will fight against those monsters.

  • teacherken

    yeah, you have to pay to use someone else’s ATM.  But if you buy something w/debit card the fee is on $.25 so I usually get my cash that way.

    You can call your branch and actually talk with a person.

    It is locally owned, Virginia’s oldest bank, and based in Alexandria.

    There is no overseas call center.

    The branch we use, in Falls Church near Lee Highway, is open evenings and Saturdays, with drive-up window open until 7 during the week.

    There is also a branch in Crystal City.

    etc. etc. etc.

    If you are outside of NoVa, sorry, but this will not be an option for you, unless you are willing to live w/o a branch nearby.

  • denton

    Burke and Herbert no longer charges its customers for using other bank’s ATMs.  You use the ATM as normal, but the fee never hits your account.  I think this is their way of standing up to the big guys.  This is no gimmick; they actually want customers.