WASHINGTON -- A consumer coalition made up of groups like the Americans for Fairness in Lending, California Reinvestment Coalition, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, and the Service Employees International Union decry Bank of America's recent decision to hike its ATM fees.
The banking giant took the fees on many of its machines, particularly those in branches in major markets, from $2 to $3.
"In its emerging role as the largest banking institution in the United States, Bank of America?s planned ATM fee hike from $2 to $3 has already been reported as an opportunity for other banks to drive their fees even higher and we fear the ultimate consequence would be an unconscionable squeeze on low- and middle-income bank consumers," the organizations said in their statement.
"These consumers, many of whom are unable to leave work to use lobby services during traditional "banking hours," rely heavily on ATM transactions for small-dollar amounts?EUR?will bear a disproportionate financial burden in affording these increases."
"Given the recent and disturbing trend toward fee-based profits that is making banking services more and more unaffordable for the Americans who need them most, we call on Bank of America and other financial institutions to proceed cautiously before placing even greater reliance on such practices," the statement said.
The coalition made it clear that it did not challenge the right to charge fees, but it questioned why as generally the cost of services declines as more consumers use the service, on a per transaction basis, the cost of ATM transactions continues to be so high and to even go up.
"We believe the temptation to squeeze out new profits by gouging consumers with unreasonable and unjustified fee hikes is one that should be resisted by our nation?s financial institutions?EUR?and meet resistance from both consumers and Congress," the coalition said.