The smaller your bank, the less likely that you pay a fee to use a checking account. The four largest banks in Massachusetts all charge fees for basic services like checks, ATMs or teller use.
Last month, the Bay State’s largest bank, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) announced it would charge debit card users $5, on top of its monthly service fee. At $15 for a full-service checking account, BofA’s fees are already the highest in the state.
We looked at the top 25 banks in Massachusetts (ranked by assets as of Dec. 31, 2009, per the BBJ research department’s 2011 Book of Lists), and had to count to 16 before we found 10 that don’t charge fees or require a minimum balance for checking. (See the slide show, at right.) In general, the smaller the bank, the less likely it is to be drawing revenue from its checking-account holders’ wallets.
That may soon change, as the Boston Business Journal reported Friday. For now, community banks are keeping fees low or nonexistent, in hopes of boosting deposits. While new banking regulations don’t constrain small banks as tightly as they do large ones, banks of all sizes are facing the same narrow margins on loans, due to rock-bottom interest rates.
Let's keep in mind these banks, and all business for that matter, are only as good as those who make the rules that govern them. The demonstrations now happening around the world should be focusing the blame on the politicians who's job it is to make you more dependent on government, the ruling party.