Bank of America no longer offers its free checking account option to its customers. Starting this month, the financial giant will charge a $12 monthly fee unless the customer enrolls in direct deposit of $250 or more, or maintains a minimum balance of $1,500.
But the elimination of Bank of America’s free checking program will have a direct effect on many low-income customers.
In a petition published on Change.org, the writer stated:
Many low income families do not meet these requirements. There have been times where I’ve only had $10 to my name. That wouldn’t even cover the maintenance fee.
Bank of America, the second-largest bank by assets, will no longer be “the only brick-and-mortar bank that offered free checking accounts to their customers,” according to the petition.
While a banking account is a financial necessity to many people in today’s day and age, more than 67,000 Americans signed the petition, “Tell Bank of America to not end their free checking accounts,” on Change.org.
But Bank of America said the move to eliminate free checking accounts was part of their goal to “[streamline] the company by exiting business lines and shedding ‘non-core’ products.” As Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, put it to investors and analysts, the bank is looking to do business with customers with high credit scores, preferably 760 and higher.
This announcement comes just after it was revealed that banks average more than $15 billion annually from overdraft fees and on the heels of the $3.5 billion tax break that was handed down to corporate America after the Republican tax bill passed.
“Bank of America was known to care for both their high income and low income customers,” the petition stated. “That is what made Bank of America different. Bank of America was the bank of every American with a dream. Now sadly, Bank of America seems to have changed their mind and wants to no longer offer free checking accounts to the American public.”