BANKS’ NEW FEES A LOT LIKE THEIR OLD FEES, ONLY BIGGER

Some things never change . . . because, well, sometimes they can't:

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Some things never change . . . because, well, sometimes they can’t:

Many bank customers have long felt nickeled-and-dimed by fees imposed by financial institutions. But now some banks are demanding much bigger denominations.

The region’s largest banks are charging consumers as much as $50 a month if they do not maintain minimum balances or meet other requirements for certain high-end checking and savings accounts.

Citizens Bank charges customers $50 a month when the balance in a top-end money market account slips below $1,000. Sovereign Bank imposes fees of up to $30 a month, and Bank of America and TD Bank each charge $25 a month whenever customers fall short of minimum balance and other qualifications for some premium checking accounts. . . .

Spiros Aloupis, a Citizens Bank customer in Revere, said he was shocked when he received mail advertising the bank’s Performance Money Market Account and saw the $50 monthly fee for letting the balance fall below $1,000 on any day during the month. Aloupis said he thought it was a mistake, until he called and Citizens confirmed the fee.

“Isn’t that ridiculous?” said the 86-year-old retiree, who has a safe deposit box with the bank. [Emph. added]

Surveys of banking customers consistently show that their biggest complaint is the gotcha fees like this one banks charge. BofA likely even had such surveys in mind earlier this year when it cooked up its doomed $5-per-month debit card fee. Say what you will, the fee was nothing if not transparent. By the time BofA scrapped the charge, everyone in the country knew all about it-and a whole lot of good that did the company. Gotcha! . . .