Months after completing major mergers, Bank One Corp. and Firstar Corp. are still charging customers of acquired banks extra fees at automated teller machines.
Bank One was created in October when the old Banc One of Columbus, Ohio, bought First Chicago NBD Corp. The next month Star Banc Corp. of Cincinnati bought Milwaukee-based Firstar and took its name.
Bank One says it will stop surcharging on Feb. 12. Firstar, which has fewer customers affected because there was little overlap in banking operations in that deal, says it will change its ATM system within a week.
"We really don't have a situation with much customer overlap so it was less critical," said Firstar spokesman Steven Dale.
Bank One, on the other hand, had significant overlap in Illinois and Indiana. Most Chicago-area customers should stop being charged by next week, said spokeswoman Patricia Shafer.
But the persistence of the fees did not go unnoticed. A Chicago newspaper columnist recently mocked "Bank One-Fifty"-the common fee charged to noncustomers for cash withdrawals-and "Bank One for Me None for You."
Ms. Shafer said Bank One had intended to wait to complete a divestiture of branches in Indiana, which is expected to happen in March.
Other banks and thrifts involved in recent mergers of significant size said it was critical to make sure their new customers were not surcharged.
BankAmerica Corp., which merged with NationsBank Corp. in September, said it stopped charging its new customers right after the deal closed. "That's one of the benefits of the new BankAmerica," said spokesman Harvey Radin.
"It was a high-priority item," said Hugh Suhr, a spokesman for SunTrust Banks Inc. of Atlanta. SunTrust acquired Crestar Financial Corp. of Richmond, Va., in December.
Wells Fargo & Co. and Norwest Corp., which merged in November, began waiving fees for each other's customers months before the acquisition closed.
Golden State Bancorp, the San Francisco-based thrift company that combined with First Nationwide Holdings in September, dealt with the situation at the time of the merger. Likewise, Washington Mutual Inc. of Seattle and H.F. Ahmanson & Co. of Irwindale, Calif., stopped charging each other's customers when that deal closed Oct. 1.
Ms. Shafer said Bank One does not know how much money it raked in from the extra ATM fees and has no plans to offer refunds.