Why You are Charged Hefty Bank Fees

by Marcie Geffner

No one likes bank fees. So why do banks charge them, taking the risk of alienating their customers?

The simple answer is that banks aren’t not-for-profit businesses, says Sandy McCraren, president of Highland Park Bank and Trust, a community bank in Highland Park, Ill.

“It’s not because in banks there is a we-have-to-fee-everybody mentality,” McCraren says. “So whereas, we would love to be able to give everything free, we can’t. It costs money to deliver those products.”

Costs include keeping the lights on and temperature comfortable inside the bank’s buildings, providing the hardware and software that make it convenient for customers to move their money, and giving customers the information, answers and attention they need, McCraren says.

“It’s as simple as (a customer saying), ‘My daughter is studying abroad and lost her debit card. What are we going to do?’ and we say, ‘Don’t worry, we will handle it.’ Or it’s talking to (a customer) who comes in with a will after someone has passed away and says, ‘Help me,'” she says.

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