In another victory for account holders, one more of America's biggest banks has canceled its plans to charge for debit card use.
Atlanta-based SunTrust announced that it no longer plans to charge a monthly fee for using a check card. If you're a SunTrust checking account holder, here's some additional good news: You can expect to see a full refund of any previous charges from the debit fee program.
In a statement issued by Brad Dinsmore, Consumer Banking and Private Wealth Management executive at SunTrust, it's obvious the bank heard its customers loud and clear.
We believe banking is a relationship business and recognize the importance of responding to client preferences. We've listened to our clients' feedback, and will provide the convenience and security of check cards at no additional charge as part of all of our checking accounts.
Folks, this is public relations hard at work. When the bank decided to implement these new charges earlier this year, there was no press release. Instead, these changes to account terms were quietly announced via a fee schedule in a mailing to the bank's customers -- a mailing that I'm sure many account holders did not bother to read thoroughly.
Regardless of the bank's affirmation of its belief that "banking is a relationship business," this is good to see. Now, we're all waiting on another big potential retreat: Bank of America. Following the JPMorgan Chase cancellation of its debit card fee test, my coblogger, Claes Bell, covered new speculation that BofA may provide options for checking account holders to avoid its monthly debit fee. There is no confirmation yet, but I'll be surprised if BofA simply stays the course as its customers close accounts and rip the financial giant for its handling of the situation.
What do you think? Will SunTrust's announcement help lead the way to an industry-wide reversal of charging for debit card use? Or will some members of the banking industry turn a deaf ear to account holder outrage?