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"They're going to charge me $5 a month if I swipe my debit card," says security guard Mike Anderson.
Anderson says his big commercial bank is also charging him if his balance drops below $500.
"I've been very loyal to them," says Anderson. "So, it's like a slap in the face. So, I'm going to go somewhere else."
He's not alone. Smaller local banks and credit unions have seen a deluge of new customers.
"We're seeing a lot of people come in that are disappointed and angry at the large banks," says Ron Samuels with Avenue Bank.
Avenue Bank, which prides itself on 24/7 customer service and no fee banking, says business has doubled since larger banks started adding fees.
"I think it's ridiculous," says Bonnie Green. "They're able to loan that money back out and make money on me again. I'm not going to do that, so..."
The extra fees follow the 2010 Federal Financial Overhaul Act passed by Congress, which caps the swipe fees large banks collect from merchangs. It amounted to about $16 billion a year. While smaller, local banks don't seem to be jumping on the fee bandwagon, neither are credit unions.
"Our members are our owners," says Michael Martin. "Banks have stock holders and they have to generate profits for the stock holders. Credit unions don't have that pressure."
Whether it's a credit union or a local bank, customers seem set on finding a cheaper option. Bankrate.com recently completed a study and found that only 45% of non-interest bearing checking accounts are free in the U.S. That's down from 76% 2 years ago.
Tuesday, October 11 2011, 04:57 PM CDT
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