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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.