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Banks: Not Too Big to Charge More

January 14, 2011

NY Times reports today….

Earlier this month, Bank of America announced its intent to test a number of different monthly fees for customers in some states, depending on the balance in their accounts or other relationships with the institution.

Right before the new year, meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase informed customers that under certain circumstances it would add monthly fees to many of the accounts it inherited from the now-deceased Washington Mutual.

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This must feel awfully good for the veteran branch banking executives at Chase who looked stingy by comparison when WaMu ran ads all over the United States in the 1990s and 2000s telling consumers that free checking was a basic human right.

But Chase sure doesn’t sound happy. In a remarkable display of staying on message, it gave the same comment last week when The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money and the trade publication US Banker asked it to explain the reasoning for the new monthly fees.

We don’t want to raise fees on our customers,” a company spokesman said. “But unfortunately, regulation is forcing us to do it. And as a result, some customers may end up unbanked.”

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