Thoughts on the Fees Big Banks are Charging Their Customers
Many of the big banks are now imposing new fees on their clients. Gary Shook shares his thoughts on this practice.
All of the changes in the banking industry are taking their toll on bank customers. A recent study by consulting group ath Power revealed that only 37% of Americans are satisfied with their financial institutions and, among customers of the three biggest banks in the nation, just 27% are happy.
This level of dissatisfaction isn't surprising given how most banks are now treating their customers. The recent regulatory changes have caused many banks to raise fees, impose new ones and eliminate services, all in an attempt to bolster their bottom line.
Some of the more punitive charges include:
- PNC charges customers up to $3 per call to make a fund transfer by phone.
- SunTrust and Bank of America are charging some customers $5 per month just for the privilege of using a debit card.
- Wells Fargo is charging some clients $6.95 per month for paying bills online - in addition to a $5 maintenance fee.
- Bank of America is charging certain customers up to $12 per month if they visit a teller to make a deposit or withdrawal.
On top of these specific charges, many of the larger banks are finding other, more insidious ways to squeeze more money from their current customers. For example:
- Free checking is getting harder to find as banks want customers to keep large balances or pay hefty monthly fees. Now only 39% of big banks offer free checking, down from 64% just last year.
- The fees banks are charging their own customers when they use another bank's ATM have increased to as much as $3, up from $1.25 in 2007 (and that's on top of what the owner of the ATM charges.)
As a locally owned and operated community bank, I believe that Middleburg Bank has a responsibility to every one of our clients to provide the best banking experience possible. We work hard to accomplish that by combining exceptional personal service with a competitive menu of products, services, rates and fees.
Unlike some other banks, you won't see us trying to improve our bottom line by sticking it to our clients through onerous charges and fees. When you bank with us, you don't pay a fee to talk to a representative, or make a deposit or withdrawal in one of our offices, or use a Middleburg Bank debit card, or pay a bill online. And you can continue to count on us to provide the services you want and need - like Free Checking - that make it easier and more affordable to manage your financial life.
Over the past year, we have seen many new clients come to Middleburg Bank from our much-larger competitors. Many have chosen to bank with us because of the exceptional personal service we deliver. Others are with us due to our fair and straightforward approach to pricing our services. And still others are here because of our commitment to our local communities. All of these reasons help explain why our retention rate among current clients significantly exceeds the industry average.
To all of our clients - new and old - I thank you for the trust you have placed in Middleburg Bank. We always want to provide the best possible service so if you have any suggestions that would make your banking experience with Middleburg Bank even better, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary R. Shook
President & CEO