Make us your home page
Instagram

Occupy St. Pete protestors have a new target: high bank fees

Davida Johns triggered a round of cheers and sign-waving from 40 or so Occupy St. Pete protestors Friday when she walked out of a Bank of America branch in downtown St. Petersburg after closing her account.

But the 66-year-old St. Petersburg resident said it was hard to pinpoint the overriding reason she decided to sever relationships with an institution she had done business with for decades — back when it was Nationsbank, and NCNB before that, and Barnett Banks before that.

It was partly frustration over Wall Street banks making money amid people losing their homes. It was a sense of "big banks preying on the poor" and prioritizing profits over customers. And it was the latest round of bank fees.

"It's a culmination of all of that," Johns said after closing a money market account. "I've been wanting to do this for a while."

The "Move Your Money" campaign by Occupy protestors — urging customers of big banks to shift to community banks and credit unions — is not new. It grew out of frustration with the federal bank bailouts, the spike in foreclosures and a short-lived plan by large banks to impose new debit card fees.

But the movement got fresh legs over the past month as more megabanks began widespread testing of new checking account fees. Bank of America is testing monthly account fees for new customers ranging from $9 to $25. Wells Fargo has been phasing out many free checking options, recently expanding a pilot program of a $7 monthly checking fee. Other institutions, such as SunTrust, have begun charging walk-in customers seeking printouts of their checking statements.

"With Bank of America and Wells Fargo talking about more fees… we're having to kick them in the face again," said Lenny Flank, 51, a veteran protestor who described himself as one of the Occupy "elders."

Bank of America spokeswoman Christina Beyer Toth said checking fee tests are restricted to Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts and don't affect current customers.

"We are continuing to learn from those tests and have not made any decisions about when, how, or if we would change our fees on new accounts," she said.

Occupy St. Pete protestors have a new target: high bank fees 03/09/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 9, 2012 9:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Target Corp. reaches $18.5 million settlement with 47 states over data breach

    Retail

    Target Corp. has agreed to pay Florida $928,963 out of a newly-announced $18.5 million settlement over a huge data breach that occurred in late 2013.

    Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have reached an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corp. to resolve the states' probe into the discounter's massive pre-Christmas data breach in 2013. 
[Associated Press]
  2. Gov. Rick Scott's family history of alcohol abuse could decide 'liquor wall" bill

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott must decide Wednesday whether to let Walmart and other big-box stores sell liquor, and he says a factor in his decision is the history of alcohol abuse in his family.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott is considering a veto of a bill that would allow Walmart, Target and other big box retail stores to sell liquor. [Andres Leiva | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. As St. Petersburg's Jabil Circuit broadens its business, it shrinks its name to Jabil

    Corporate

    St. Petersburg's Fortune 500 company, Jabil Circuit, informally tossed aside the "Circuit" in its name some time ago. That's because circuit board manufacturing, the company's core business for decades, has been squeezed out by a broader business agenda ranging from consumer packaging to supply chain management.

    Jabil Circuit informally dropped "Circuit" from its marketing material and signage, like at its St. Petersburg headquarters, years ago. Now it's official.
[Times file photo]
  4. Kahwa Coffee to open second drive-thru store in St. Petersburg

    Retail

    Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.

    Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.
[Times file photo]

  5. John Morgan 'prepared to invest $100M' in medical marijuana

    State Roundup

    John Morgan spent nearly $7 million pushing two statewide ballot initiatives to expand medical marijuana throughout the state of Florida.

    Personal injury lawyer John Morgan says he's ready to invest $100 million in medical marijuana. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]