2008 Will Be The Year of the Bank Fees

27 Oct 2008 Will Be The Year of the Bank Fees

picThe cost of banking just went up. Banks are raising fees on just about any type of banking service that you can imagine, and trust me, it seems they have thought of them all. Bank fees come in all sizes and shapes. There are the usual suspects: like over the limit fees and ATM fees, then you have the cash advance fee and the returned check fee. Some banks now charge when you make your monthly payment over the phone. The question is why are banking fees going up now? The answer is $50 billion. Yes, that is correct. Banks will charge over $50 billion in various fees this year. The Banks are raising fees and putting their hands deeper in the U.S. consumer’s pocket at the same time that the U.S. Consumer is being pick-pocketed by the gas companies, mortgage servicers, and federal government. The reason why is: The banks are attempting to stock-pile their cash to deal with their horrible balance sheets.

The Consumer is being tapped from all sides at a time when they cannot afford to be tapped anymore. Recently, I heard something that shocked me. I was listening to the radio, and I heard a talking head saying that the drop in gas prices is akin to the U.S. Consumer receiving a $280 million tax break. Are you kidding me, a tax break. We pay for gas with after tax dollars. Now, with the money we save at the pump, we can finally catch up on our mortgage payments and get ready for our property taxes, but now we have to worry about bank fees taking away from our children’s college fund.

ATM fees are continuing to rise. The other day, I was hit up for a $2.00 fee for using a generic ATM. I was outraged, but, what was I going to do. I think I have to keep almost $100,000.00 in the bank to earn $20.00 in interest a month on my savings account. Next time I will have to keep more cash on hand. Wait a minute, wasn’t that the reason I applied for a debit card in the first place, to stop carrying large amounts of cash around.

Checking Account Fees are something that I will never understand. First, if you do have an interest bearing checking account, the chances that you are making money are slim because the bank is probably charging you a fee to have the account. If you have free-checking, hold onto your wallet if you bounce a check or if you try something as crazy as wiring money in and out of your account, you are in for a rude awakening. Then, if you complain to the bank about the fees being charged, it is almost like you have to kiss the toes of the bank president to get a $20 fee waved.

If you can sense my dislike of bank fees, I succeded in my blog. I keep money in the bank to earn a little interest and protect it. I allow them to use my money with the understanding that it will be there if I need it, and in return, I expect a little courtesy. Anyone can make a mistake; therefore, I would like to see a demerit system put in place. If I bounce a check, I get a demerit. If I go over the limit, I get a demerit. When I hit 5 demerits in one year, then yes, I deserve to be charged a fee for my continued failure to handle my account in a reasonable manner. However, if I do not get a demerit this year, I should get a higher interest rate on my savings account because I didn’t cost the bank any money, and they made a little money with my money. Obviously, my dream of a demerit based banking system will never go past this blog because of $50 billion in banking fees being collected each year by the banks.

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Carmen Dellutri is a proud member of the Florida Bar, and he is a Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney, Certified by the American Board of Certification. He practices in the areas of Consumer Bankruptcy and Plaintiff's Personal Injury. He is the principal attorney at The Dellutri Law Group, P.A. The firm supports many charitable and civic causes by donating time and much needed capital to our community. Mr. Dellutri and the other attorneys in the firm routinely speak to students of all ages about various legal and societal issues.
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