Anger swells as banks announce higher fees targeting lower-incom -

Anger swells as banks announce higher fees targeting lower-income customers

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Anger against banks across the country continues to grow as financial institutions announce new fees and charges that will inevitably have an impact on consumers’ wallets.

Last week Bank of America announced it will be raising fees for the use of debit cards, and Citibank recently announced it will start charging customers to use checking accounts that used to be free.

Customers with mid-level accounts will now be charged a $20 monthly fee unless they maintain combined balances of $15,000.

The big banks may say their new fees are just making up for lost revenue because of limits imposed by Congress on other fees, but no one likes the fees and the low-income customers will be the ones who’ll be impacted by the changes the most.

Beyond the anger, community advocates at the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance say they worry about the long-term impact of higher fees on low-income customers.

There are fewer banking choices in low-income neighborhoods. In fact, there are six zip codes in the St. Louis area that have no banks at all. This means they’re forced to go to payday loan companies that charge extremely high interest rates.

However, there are still some local banks and credit unions in the St. Louis area that welcome low and middle-income customers. These banks get favorable ratings for serving low-income customers: Commerce Bank, UMB, Southern Commercial Banks, St. Louis Community Credit Union and Pulaski Bank.

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