The Week 
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
“If free checking accounts were animals, they’d be on the World Wildlife Fund’s list of endangered species,” says Catherine New at The Huffington Post.
This week, industry trade group Bankrate reported that only 39 percent of checking accounts in America are free (meaning they require no minimum balance and don’t charge a monthly fee). The free checking account used to be nearly ubiquitous — clocking in at a high of 76 percent in 2009 — but banks have been cutting back their largesse in a bid to squeeze more money out of customers. Here, a guide to the trend:
Why do banks need more revenue?
New government regulations and a struggling economy have eaten into bank profits. President Obama’s 2010 overhaul of the financial system, which is meant to protect consumers from bad banking practices, curbed the ability of banks to charge customers overdraft fees. Major banks have tried to offset the losses in numerous ways, most prominently by trying to charge customers for using their debit cards, which was met with a severe public backlash.
Full story here.