Published March 16, 2011
Unintended consequences seems to be a theme of this administration and their sweeping laws.
From Obamacare to Dodd-Frank... they call it a victory and we pay the price. With financial regulation, banks and other financial services are not just going to eat the costs of following the new rules- they're passing them on to us.
For one, it could mean the end of free checking accounts something that has become the norm since the 1990s. JPMorgan Chase is testing a plan to force customers in Georgia pay $15 a month for their once-free checking accounts.
For Bank of America customers, the banks will charge a $9 monthly fee in Arizona. Current Wells Fargo customers in Delaware have already seen their free checking turn into $5 accounts.
The next target will be ATMs.
According to Bankrate.com, fees rose 5% in 2010 to an average of $2.33. But it's those out-of-network fees that will get you - they're up 7% and counting.
The Wall Street Journal points out JPMorgan is again testing the waters, this time with $4 fees in Texas and $5 fees for customers of rival banks using their machines in Illinois. The bank has more than 36,000 ATMs in those two states.
TD Bank is also telling its customers, “Remember that policy where you could use any ATM for free? Yea... not so much anymore.” And PNC will soon stop reimbursing customers for fees they've incurred while using other banks ATMs.
And the list of fees goes on and on. Overdraft fees increased 3% last year, and the number of banks not requiring minimum balances or monthly fees fell to 65% from 76% last year.
By the way - let me remind you and the banks themselves why they can impose all these fees.
Because we, the American taxpayer, bailed them out and kept them afloat. And this is how you re-pay us?
There again, more unintended consequences.