Is it time to say goodbye to big banks?

Friday, September 30, 2011
By Paul Martin

Upstart banks want your checking account

By Linda Stern

(Reuters) – The big boys like Bank of America and Citibank are having problems with share prices and profitability, and the upstarts are hitting them while they’re down.
New banks and bank-like companies including BankSimple and PerkStreet are creating cheaper online accounts. Traditional niche players like credit unions and community banks are banding together in networks to grab your business. Online-only banks like ING Direct and Ally Bank are pushing their higher interest rates on savings.

With the major banks regularly changing (by which I mean raising) their fee structures and paying minuscule rates of interest on savings, it’s worth asking: Is it time to go small, new and different?

That’s a tough call for most consumers, because bank industry offers, terms and services change daily. But here are some ways to approach that decision.

— Check out the newbies. BankSimple hasn’t even launched yet, though it will very soon. It’s an intermediary firm that looks like a bank and partners behind the scenes with smaller banks. It will offer checking without monthly or overdraft fees. PerkStreet is an Internet bank offering big rewards for debit card users. New banks and quasi banks are coming on line more frequently; there may be more competition from them going forward.

The Rest…HERE

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