Wells Fargo Eliminating Free Checking

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SAN FRANCISCO – Wells Fargo & Co. has eliminated free checking accounts for new customers as firms prepare for stricter consumer protection measures.

New basic checking accounts carry a $5 monthly fee as of July 1, according to Julia Tunis Bernard, a spokesperson for the bank. To avoid the monthly fee, new Wells Fargo customers will have to maintain a $1,500 minimum average balance or receive a direct deposit of at least $250.

“We’re no longer offering free checking as a new product or new account,” Bernard told American Banker, an affiliate of Credit Union Journal. In addition to evaluating best practices, the lender considers “industry trends and changes in the economic and regulatory environment,” she said.

Wells Fargo had offered free checking in every state except California, Bernard said. It made up a small percentage of new account volume because most customers bundle checking with other services, she said.

Credit Union Journal has an examination of the effects of new laws on free checking at credit unions in its July 12 issue.

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