By Hans Bader
“Say goodbye to traditional free checking, as banks feel squeeze from new regulations,” reads the AP headline. “Free checking, a mainstay of American banking in recent years, will be nearly unheard of” at the banks that do business with most of the households in America.
“Almost all of the largest U.S. banks are either already making free checking much more difficult to get or expected to do so soon, with fees on even basic banking services. It’s happening because of a raft of new laws enacted in the past year, including the financial overhaul package, have led to an acute shrinking of revenue for the banks.”
Bank of America just wrote off $10 billion in losses due to the recently-passed Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, and its stock value has shrunken over the last six months from over $19 to less than $12 per share, shrinking the value of millions of 401(k)s that Americans rely upon for their retirement.
Citibank is now charging Ted Frank $15 a month for his previously-free checking account, along with $0.50 per check written.
While imposing heavy new burdens on self-supporting, productive private banks, the Dodd-Frank Act harms the economy, reduces liquidity and the ability to hedge against risk, and does nothing to reform the corrupt government-sponsored mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which helped spawn the mortgage crisis by engaging in fraud, misrepresenting subprime mortgages as prime, and creating artificial demand for those junky mortgages (and now are collecting a bailout that may reach $400 billion).