Of the 14 biggest banks in Greater Cleveland surveyed by The Plain Dealer, U.S. Bank was the only one to increase its overdraft fee in 2013, from $35 to $36. None of these banks hiked fees for using another bank's ATM, replacing an ATM card, stopping a payment, requesting a PIN-only debit card, or having a deposit item returned.
Fred Cummings, banking analyst at Elizabeth Park Capital Management, says, "Banks don't want to be viewed as gouging their customers." Cummings and Baldwin Wallace University associate professor Kevin Jacques both believe the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the main reason why banks have avoided fee increases. "There is a new sheriff in town," says Jacques. "This might be a good year to stay away from fee increases, particularly ones that might be seen as punitive." He adds that bank finances have become healthier in recent years, and interest rates charged to customers are on the rise.