Study Finds that Bank of America, M&T Bank, PNC & Wells Fargo are Ripping Off Mostly Black Customers in Baltimore with High Overdraft & ATM Fees

From [HERE] If you have a bank account in Baltimore, there's a good chance you are paying higher overdraft and ATM fees than your friends and family in places like Boston, Denver and New York. And if you live in Baltimore there's a 64% chance you are Black. [MORE

A recent study by ranked Baltimore No. 10 on its list of 50 cities with the highest bank fees. The study uses data about the ATM fees, overdraft fees and monthly service fees from more than 1,700 banks and credit unions across the country to determine the rankings.

Baltimore ranks No. 6 for third-party ATM fees, No. 6 for overdraft fees and No. 36 for average monthly fees.

The average third-party fee in Baltimore was $2.43. The lowest was Oklahoma City, which has an average ATM fee of $1.31. The highest was Philadelphia where ATM fees cost on average $2.58. The national average was $2.28.

Overdraft fees on average cost $34.91 in Baltimore, compared to $29.01 in Salt Lake City. The most expensive was Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where overdraft fees cost $36.14. The national average was $33.97.

The type of financial institutions that dominate a metro area contributes greatly to the variance in overdraft fees, according to the study. When credit unions make up a large percentage of the banking institutions in a city, the average overdraft fees are less than when banks make up a large percentage.

Average overdraft fee from credit unions ($29.22) are less than the average at brick-and-mortar banks ($34.91).

In Baltimore, big banks like Bank of America, M&T Bank, PNC and Wells Fargo dominate market share. While credit unions are generally growing deposits, they are still far behind banks.

When it comes to monthly service fees, Baltimore ranks more favorably. On average monthly service fees cost $3.75 in Baltimore, according to the report. Those same fees cost just $2.39 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The highest was New Orleans, where monthly fees cost $7.17. The national average was $4.58.

Baltimore overall ranked higher than major cities like Chicago (No. 12), New York (No. 16), Denver (No. 39) and Boston (No. 40). The metro area with the smallest bank fee burden score was Oklahoma City, while the highest-ranked city was West Palm Beach, Florida.

Washington, D.C. also ranked high on the list at No. 8 overall. D.C. ranked No. 9 for overdraft fees, No. 8 for ATM fees and No. 27 for monthly service charges.

The study also shows consumers will benefit from lower checking account fees by choosing online banks and credit unions over brick-and-mortar banks.

For all three fees, online banks had the lowest fee averages. The average at credit unions’ averages were higher, and the average fees at brick-and-mortar banks were the highest.