Anchor Intro: If you’ve noticed more banks in your neighborhood, but fewer names, you’re seeing the results of mergers in the banking business. But with fewer banks competing for your business, does that mean higher fees ahead? Bankrate.com says yes.

Voice over 1: Feel like you’re paying more and getting less from your bank? You probably are.

SOT: Since 1999 we’ve seen the average ATM fee increase by 60 percent. Even the average bounced check fee has gone from $21 now to north of $27.

Voice over 2: Why is this happening? Well, you’ve seen the Lending Tree ad … when banks compete you win. Maybe one reason why fees are on the rise is that when banks don’t compete, you lose.

SOT: “Since 1999, the share of the 50 largest banks has grown from 22 percent to 36 percent. What that means is that the big banks continue to get bigger and they have a larger share of the marketplace. When that’s the case, they may not have to compete as aggressively for your business.”

Voice over 3: So if your bank is merging, assume you’re dealing with a whole new bank … because you are. Let a few months go by?because fees won’t go up right away. Then take a fresh look. Check out fees, savings rates, and anything else that might be an issue for you. Because even though competition is dropping … there’s still plenty out there.

SOT: “The fact is financial services is incredibly competitive. So it pays to shop around and that shopping around is rewarded in finding better terms.”

Whether or not your bank is merging, you don’t have to settle for advertised rates. If you’re a good customer, there’s nothing wrong with negotiating. The smaller your bank, the better your odds. For Bankrate.com, I’m Kristin Arnold.