Bank of America eliminating free checking accounts
Bank of America eliminating free checking accounts
Bank of America has eliminated its last free checking account not requiring a minimum balance to avoid monthly fees
26 January, 2018, 03:03
Bank of America can well afford to provide these customers with free checking accounts and themselves with goodwill.
"People who don't have bank accounts and cash checks at currency exchanges are disproportionately low-income, people of color, people with disabilities, older adults, immigrants, and other vulnerable populations that are least able to pay more", said Dory Rand, president of the Woodstock Institute, a research and public policy group that tracks retail banking trends, in an email to me.
Bank customers have since launched an online petition with 66,000 signatures as of Wednesday protesting the changes.
Another commenter wrote: "I am in the process of switching banks because of this".
"But Bank of America said the move to eliminate free checking accounts was part of their goal to "[streamline] the company by exiting business lines and shedding "non-core" products".
On Jan.19, Bank of America completed the final phaseout of its eBanking account, and at least 46,000 of the bank's customers and like-minded supporters are really not happy about it, according to a report by the Charlotte Observer. "By pushing poor people into the dark world of alternative financial services characterized by higher fees and exorbitant interest rates, low-income communities are at risk of being thrust into further economic distress". "I urge you to let Bank of America realize that this is unfair to their customers that have been loyal to them for years". The bank stopped offering the account five years ago and has been slowly migrating customers into different accounts ever since, she said.
The Charlotte-based bank says it hasnt offered the account for almost five years. It didn't matter how low their balance got. "I don't expect that's going to change anytime soon".
Free checking is still available, you just have to know where to look.
Clements says the fees are similar to other brick and mortar big banks.
Analysts at KBW predict Bank of America's earnings will increase 17.8 percent in 2018 once the tax cut is factored in, compared to an expected 13 percent earnings increase for banks overall. That wouldn't even cover the maintenance fee.
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