Do you use a large, national bank or a smaller, regional one? Personally, I’ve never chosen simply because of size. Usually my decision is based on need for certain services. In recent years, my decision was driven mainly by accessibility to a relatively wide variety of online banking services. I was willing to accept a certain level of trade-off between fees and convenience.
I think like many consumers, in recent weeks I’ve been taking a second, harder look at my bank and the fees it charges. Ever since Bank of America Corp. and several other national financial providers proposed charging monthly debit card fees, I’ve been asking myself, “What am I willing to pay for, and how much?”
Admittedly, my first reaction to the proposed debit card fee was astonishment since I felt as though I was being charged for the use of my own money. I suspect many other consumers felt the same way, and that’s why the banks have been dealing with a firestorm response. Several large banks, including Wells Fargo & Co. and SunTrust Banks Inc., are now retreating and have taken the debit card fee off the table, according to media reports including those by Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal. Bank of America, the biggest U.S. debit-card issuer, seems to still be considering it.
It will be interesting to see how this shakes out in coming months. In the meantime, I’ve had several interesting conversations with local banks who have pointed out that advancements in technology have given them the opportunity to offer more online banking and other services, possibly without the fees that I’m currently being charged. They’ve been pretty aggressive about reaching out to the community and offering incentives to win back local consumers. Another form of “Go Local”?
Are you a national or regional bank customer? Would you switch if your bank started charging a monthly debit card fee? Share with me your feedback and fill out this survey. I’ll share the results with readers.
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