Nine banks are participating in an FDIC experiment to find out whether they can offer low-fee, all-electronic checking and savings accounts to the underserved and still break even. The participants -- mainly community banks but also Citibank and ING Direct -- launched accounts in January based on a template developed by the FDIC. The intent of the yearlong pilot program is to determine whether banks can afford to offer accounts that charge low monthly fees -- but no overdraft or nonsufficient funds fees -- to customers who may have had trouble keeping a checking account solvent, says Sherrie Rhine, a senior economist with the FDIC Division of Insurance and Research. First State Bank in Union City, TN, is a large community bank that the FDIC encouraged to apply for the pilot program because the $1.5 billion-asset bank has offered checking accounts into which people could get their tax returns deposited automatically, says Barry Matthews, VP of community relations and business development.
ACCOUNTS for EVERYONE COMMUNITY BANKS IN AN FDIC PILOT PROGRAM AIM TO BREAK GROUND IN DE
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