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Oregon Public Broadcasting
Kristian Foden-Vencil

An Oregon consumer group is advising Bank of America customers to switch to a credit union -- following the bank’s announcement it will charge $5 a month for a debit card.

Bank of America says the fees are needed because new government regulations have reduced revenues.

But Brian Rae of the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group says banks are just looking for ways to make money.

"Fee income is the fastest-growing profit center for big banks. It's just policy that hurts the consumers. It doesn't give consumers any new services," Rae said.

Later this month, a federal government cap goes into effect on a different set of debit card fees. Those fees are now charged to retailers for card swipes.

JP Morgan Chase tested charging a $5 ATM fee for some customers in Illinois in July, but abandoned the idea after complaints.

Citigroup has also announced a $10 monthly fee for customers who allow their bank balances to drop below $1500.

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