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175 Past Due – No More Free Lunches (Or Banks)

by Derek Sisterhen on October 8, 2011

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Past Due: Radio 175 – No More Free Lunches (Or Banks)

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Greg has been reading the news and seeing how banks are beginning to charge for previously free services. In particular, he noticed that Bank of America is preparing to charge customers $5 a month to use their debit cards. Greg asked: “First, how did this happen (that banks are charging fees like this)? And second, what does this mean for an average guy like me? How should I be vetting my banks?”

These are great questions. Oftentimes we assume that our bank has our best interest at heart, but we forget that they work for shareholders (which is why it’s a good idea to have your financial institution(s) in your mix of mutual funds, too). When things change, we figure the bank is out to get us; but the reality is that they need us, or else they wouldn’t be in business.

Today we discussed:

1) How banks actually work; why they offered free services for so long and what recent regulatory changes are forcing them to do differently.

2) The three questions you should ask to determine if your bank relationship fits your needs.

If you put a premium on relationships – having a banker that knows your name – recognize that those services cost money and may require you to pay for them. If you prefer free self-service banking options, just remember that you get what you pay for.

If you have a specific question, I’d be happy to answer it and further cultivate the wisdom of the Past Due Radio masses. The experiences of our listener base provide plenty of insight we all can learn from; don’t hesitate to ask – I’m happy to help!

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