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Wells Fargo to Restore Fee-Free Checking for Thousands

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Wells Fargo & Co., heeding the protests of angry customers, has decided to reinstate free checking for thousands of its customers.

The bank’s decision Friday reverses an earlier one that eliminated fee waivers on the checking accounts of about 164,000 customers. That announcement, made in May, prompted a flurry of angry calls and letters from account holders, who believed that they would not have to pay fees for as long as they had the accounts.

“It didn’t take long to gauge the depth of those feelings and the sincerity of these customers,” Wells Fargo Executive Vice President James K. Ketcham said. “Because of the legitimacy of so many of these concerns, we decided to reinstate these waivers and make the accounts free of monthly service fees again.”

In May, the bank sent letters to the customers--representing about 3% of its 5.2 million checking account holders--saying that it would start charging them monthly fees. Fees could be avoided by maintaining balances above certain levels.

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The bank said Friday that it will now inform those customers that the fee waiver will be reinstated and continue for the life of the account.

Wells Fargo said many of the affected customers had signed up for their accounts at other institutions that it acquired. More than 90% of its customers either pay fees or maintain certain balances, the bank said.


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