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ATM Fees Charged to Non-Customers

Re “7 Banks Fight ATM Fees of Industry Giants,” Feb. 25:

It amazes me to read the comment made by John Stafford, the California Bankers Assn. spokesman, to the effect that the government should not protect customers from the fees charged by banks for “voluntary” use of ATM machines. That the marketplace should dictate such matters. He cites the cost of installing an ATM at about $35,000 as a justification for charging customers for the use of these.

Why does he not mention the fact that between Bank of America and Wells Fargo, they have closed many branches of what once were Security Pacific and First Interstate banks, and that the closure of these branches has made it an ordeal to go to the bank and wait in long lines. It is not so much that one uses an ATM “voluntarily,” the banks have made it a necessity because of their poor service and on top of it, they charge the customer after creating this inconvenience.

Ironic, isn’t it, it is now the banks that are committing highway robbery when one drives up to an ATM!

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ANTONIO BLANCO

Chula Vista

Your article shows how fees escalate and service erodes when too much of the banking capacity is concentrated in too few institutions. The situation will only get worse if the merger between Great Western and Home Savings is approved. The merger will result in fewer branches (and fewer ATMs) and one savings and loan dominant enough to be even more arrogant than either is today.

The merger is not in the best interests of the community. Any public body that has an opportunity to block it should do so.

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LARRY WIENER

Alhambra


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