Day 162 – Sorry, you can’t charge me $15

Practicing consumer bankruptcy, I’ve developed a certain level of malcontent against the “too big to fail” banks. My gripe is this attitude – that it can get away with anything. It can get away with creating huge bubbles, getting bailed out when the bubble burst, and still have the audacity to continue its bad behavior. Apparently, banks are completely justified in charging its customers more without offering anything in exchange. The most recent example being Bank of America’s announcement to charge $5 per month for debit cards.

I was pretty outraged when Wells Fargo announced that starting November 14, 2011, it will charge a $15 monthly fee for any checking accounts with less than a $7,500 balance. This little surprise was hidden in my “Message & Alerts Inbox,” buried within 22 messaged. Because I apparently have too much time (or contempt) against Wells Fargo, I tend to read these little alerts.

The message was also written on the back of my August statement, which of course I don’t read because I bank online. *Note: You should look at every single statement you receive regularly!*

Once I figured out that they’ve been printing these fee changes on the back of our statements, I downloaded the pdf for the past 6 months and reviewed it. And guess what I found? MORE fees! Yup.

I was just complaining about these fees to a friend of mine when she told me Bank of America is doing the same thing! Bank of America is now charging $8.95 – $25 per month for checking accounts.

Am I the only one that finds their behavior to be offensive?

Bank of America has 59 million US customers. Even a modest $5 increase on 20 million customers would net a pretty $100 million in profit. I mean, let’s face it. How else is Bank of America going to afford its CEO Moynihan’s $6.03 million pay package? And because they are so big, they can get away with charging these fees.

It used to be there were a lot more choices when it came to banking. There were a lot of smaller, neighborhood banks. Now, the choices are much more limited. In another words, these “too big to fail” banks seem to have a blank check it can write against my account precisely because it is so big, which only limits our choices.

I refuse to award Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank, and all the other “too big to fail” banks for their bad behavior. I will take my money elsewhere and support a local bank. Most local banks do not charge fees for use of basic services. And if they did, I’ll pay cash.

We should all be telling the big banks – no more.

*This was hidden on the back of our September statement. Highlighted items are particularly irritating. Money order was $0. Stop payment was around $15. Now, it will cost $31. Really?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth October 12, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I just examined our Wells Fargo statement and found the extra fees…but no sign of the $15 account charge. So I’m left feeling…uncomfortable…and a little in the dark.

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Jeena Cho October 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Beth,

The new fees kick in on November 14th. I walked into my local branch and met with a personal banker. He was able to downgrade my account and moved some things around so I can still get free checking. You might consider doing the same.

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