WASHINGTON — The New York State Banking Department unveiled a new section of its Web site Monday that allows consumers to compare the rates, fees, and services that banks offer to checking account customers.

“This will prove to be vital information to consumers in helping them to decide which institution’s fees and charges are most economical,” said Banking Department Superintendent Elizabeth McCaul.

In addition to listing the fees for ATM use, returned-check charges, and minimum balance requirements, the site contains contact information for individual institutions, including links to bank Web sites.

The initiative, developed at the direction of Governor George E. Pataki, currently lists only banks in the New York City and Buffalo metropolitan areas, but will be expanded to encompass Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester.

An existing section of the Banking Department site that lists mortgage rates is being expanded to cover more banks, and will be updated weekly.

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