Wells Fargo cuts free checking ahead of new rules

* Will charge new customers $5 per month for checking

* Current customers are exempt, as are Wachovia accounts

* Fee can be waived if certain requirements are met

CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 9 (BestGrowthStock) – Wells Fargo & Co
(WFC.N: ) will no longer offer free checking for all new
customers opening accounts at the bank, a company spokeswoman
told Reuters on Friday.

The San Francisco-based bank — one of the largest U.S.
consumer banks — introduced a $5 monthly fee for its basic
checking account service on July 1, eliminating two kinds of
free, basic account services the company previously offered.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Julia Tunis Bernard said the move
will only affect a small percentage of new customers, as most
new accounts open what the company calls “checking packages,”
or a bundle of banking services.

The change will not affect existing customer accounts or
Wachovia Bank customers.

New customers can have the fee waived by maintaining a
$1,500 average daily account balance, or having a monthly
direct deposit transaction of $250 or more.

The move comes as Bank of America Corp (BAC.N: ) and other
major U.S. banks are examining reinstituting account fees and
other service charges as financial reform has curbed overdraft
charges and other sources noninterest income.
(Reporting by Joe Rauch; editing by Carol Bishopric)

Wells Fargo cuts free checking ahead of new rules