Bank Brings Back Free Checking

by Steve Topper

Now here’s a bit of good news on the checking account front – a community bank drops free checking, sees the error of its way, and brings it back.

After surveying customers, First Bank, based in Strasburg, VA, made the decision to bring back free checking.  Better yet, it named it Free Checking.

From the bank’s first quarter earnings report provided in its April 24th press release, reintroducing Free Checking was one of the bank’s first quarter initiatives.

According to information in the release, “Totally free checking accounts were reintroduced with electronic bank statements, free ATM usage, free check cards, and free online banking.  During the first month that free checking was introduced, the number of free checking accounts opened exceeded all other deposit product types.”   You can read the entire press release here.

What’s surprising is here’s a bank that actually listened to its customers and acted on their wishes.  How many banks and credit unions would have ignored their customers’ desires to have the opportunity to open a free checking account where they currently bank?

Or, perhaps they would have simply informed them that they can have free checking by simply meeting one or more criteria set forth in the account’s list of features.

I’ve labeled such accounts “stealth free checking.”

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