FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 3, 2009

BERNANKE PROMISES SCHUMER THAT FED WILL PROBE MAJOR RISE IN ATM FEES IMPOSED BY BANKS WHEN CUSTOMERS TRY TO WITHDRAW THEIR OWN MONEY


According to Annual Study Released By Consumer Group, Average Fee Charged By Banks On Non-Customers Rose More Than 12% In Past Year

In Addition, Survey Found 72% of Banks Also Punish Their Own Customers For Using Other Banks' ATMs With An Additional Fee

Bernanke Makes Commitment To Examine Harmful Consumer Impacts of Mounting ATM Fees At Senate Confirmation Hearing

WASHINGTON, DC-- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke promised U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) today that his agency will conduct a review of the major rise in ATM fees imposed by banks on customers who are simply trying to withdraw their own money. Bernanke made the commitment at his Senate confirmation hearing in answer to a request from Schumer.

“ATM fees are getting so onerous that the costs of accessing your money easily outweighs the convenience factor. These mounting fees demand a response from federal regulators. Consumers are bearing an unfair burden in maintaining the health of banks’ balance sheets,” Schumer said.

According to an independent study released on September 30, the average fee that banks charge non-customers rose 12.6 percent in the last year to $2.22. That is on top of the fee that customers are charged by their own bank when they use an out-of-network ATM. That fee averages $1.32 and is assessed by a whopping 72 percent of banks, according to the study, which was produced by Bankrate.com, a consumer finance website.

Schumer called this a “double-whammy” on consumers and said it demanded the attention of federal regulators.

Earlier this year, Schumer also led the call for the Fed to reform overdraft fees imposed by banks when customers make purchases that exceed their remaining balance. Schumer also wrote the section of this year’s major credit card reform law that reined in abusive gift card practices.

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