Woodstock Statement on Bank of America Core Checking Accounts

January 23, 2018

Woodstock Institute Contact: Jenna Severson (jseverson@woodstockinst.org) (312) 368-0310

CHICAGO, IL – “It is unfortunate that Bank of America is automatically transferring former eBanking free checking account customers to its more expensive Core Checking accounts without giving customers the option to move to other products, such as Bank of America’s SafeBalance accounts. We applaud Bank of America for offering the SafeBalance account, which requires a low $25 to open without requiring a minimum balance, has only a $4.95  monthly maintenance fee, allows customers to get cash, and make payments, and does not allow overdrafts, like more expensive Core Checking accounts do. For low-income customers who need to write checks and are unable to direct deposit $250 per month to avoid monthly fees, Core Checking is not an affordable option,” said Woodstock Institute President Dory Rand.

 “The debate over Bank of America’s accounts and fees points to a larger economic justice issue— people with less income pay more to get cash, make payments, and conduct their business. When banks change basic account terms and hike fees, customers have two options: 1) pay more; or, 2) do business elsewhere.  Without access to safe and affordable bank accounts, low-income consumers often turn to costly alternative financial services, such as currency exchanges or check-cashers. The bottom line is: the most financially vulnerable need more and better options to transact their business and participate in the financial mainstream,” Rand said.