Bank Fees Taking a Toll on Chicago Consumers Considering Bankruptcy

The banks keep making it more and more difficult for many people in Chicago who are simply trying to get by.

First, the banking industry's sub-prime mortgage debacle is largely to blame for the biggest financial decline in the last 100 years. Now, they have decided that the way for them to recover all that lost money is to fine their customers for doing business with them.
While it makes little sense on the surface, it may work unless consumers fight back by doing business with other banks or, better yet, credit unions. And although bank fees increasing this year may not cause someone to file for bankruptcy in Chicago, it is another signal of the difficult times consumers are experiencing.

While bankruptcy may not be appropriate for every consumer, Chicago bankruptcy lawyers have helped many people who are scrambling to find answers to their troubling financial situation.

CNN Money reports that Citi is the latest large bank to announce it is taking its customers for granted by hiking fees on checking accounts and banking accounts. According to CNN, the bank will charge its mid-level Citibank Account members $20 a month -- $240 per year -- if their minimum balance drops below $15,000 in their combined accounts. The previous threshold was $6,000.

For EZ Checking customers, the $15 per month fee will be imposed if they don't have $6,000 in their account. That's because Citi is trying to phase out EZ Checking, which has no current monthly fee, and move people into Citibank Account or Basic Banking account features. Of course both of those options have fees already in place.

Its Basic Banking account fee went from $8 to $10 per month, unless customers have at least $1,500 in their account or make one direct deposit and one automatic online payment through their checking account each month. The trade-off is that current account holders have to make five online transactions monthly but are not required to have a minimum balance.

Citi's announcement comes as other banks have announced recent hikes in fees. Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Sun Trust and Regions have all added fees in recent weeks. Some have begun charging for debit card transactions as well.

With legislation that cut back how much banks are allowed to charge on a per-swipe basis at the point of sale, they have looked to make up the money elsewhere -- with consumers being the target.

It's sad that banks have chosen to treat their customers that way, but it's nothing new. They may be taking pointers from credit card companies that impose significant fees and outrageous interest rates in order to make money.

Add that to the climbing cost of living in America and it's no wonder bankruptcy in Chicago is an option many are considering. Consider a free consultation to see if it's a fit for you.

If you need to speak to a Chicago bankruptcy attorney call the DebtStoppers Bankruptcy Law Firm at 800-440-7235 today for a free debt analysis. Call 800-440-7235.

More Blog Entries:

College Credit Card Debt in Chicago Can Get Out of Control Without the Right Plan: September 14, 2011

1 out of 4 Chicago Consumers Have No Emergency Savings Plan: August 30, 2011

Additional Resources:

Citi hikes fees on checking accounts, by Jessica Dickler, CNN Money

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