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Thanks, Congress!

$5 ATM fees may be coming

Some of the nation’s biggest banks are imposing a variety of new fees on people who withdraw money from automated-teller machines.

The move is the latest example of the burgeoning new fees that banks are imposing on customers accustomed to years of free services. Banks are scrambling to replace billions of dollars in revenue expected to be lost from new federal regulations on overdraft charges and debit cards.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., TD Bank Financial Group, and PNC Financial Services Group already are changing their ATM policies to collect more fees.

J.P. Morgan’s Chase retail division, for example, is going after noncustomers who withdraw money from the bank’s ATMs, according to people familiar with the matter. Chase executives have grumbled about customers of rival banks using the company’s machines even though it charges them $3, which is standard in the banking industry. Chase is now testing fees of $5 and $4 in Illinois and Texas, respectively, for noncustomer withdrawals.

More ATM fee rises are expected in the coming months. As regulations limit certain profitable practices in the industry, the banks are replacing lost funds with new fees. Some financial institutions recently introduced new charges on checking accounts as a way to make up some of the revenue that will choked from rules imposed by the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law. [Emph. added]

It should go without saying that higher ATM fees will, at the margin, push fee-averse consumers toward the big banks (where people will have free have access to huge ATM networks) and away from community banks (where they won’t). This wasn’t what either Dodd or Frank hand in mind, was it? . . . Anyway, I await the Jamie Dimon-Elizabeth Warren cage match over ATM fees with eager anticipation. . . .