Secretary of State William F. Galvin vowed to press Bank of America and other big banks in Massachusetts to offer free checking accounts to young adults and the elderly, something most community banks already offer.
Galvin said he is seeking legislation to bar banks from holding state or local government deposits in Massachusetts unless they offer free basic checking accounts to people under 19 or 65 and older.
State-chartered banks, such as Eastern Bank and Rockland Trust, are already required to offer the accounts under legislation that Galvin co-sponsored when he served in the state legislature in the 1980s.
But the law does not apply to nationally charted banks like Bank of America, Citizens Bank, Sovereign Bank, and TD Bank. Those also happen to be the largest banks in Massachusetts as measured by deposits and branches.
Galvin, who said he has personally been frustrated with the fees Bank of America charges on his own campaign accounts, said he decided to push for legislation after reading about the bank’s plans to implement a new wave of monthly checking account fees across the country. The bank is already testing the fees in Massachusetts.
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