It has been announced that first direct is to charge customers who hold a current account or cheque account with the bank.
A £10 fee will be issued if holders do not keep their account credited with at least £1,500 and maintain an average balance of the same amount per month.
However, customers who utilise another of first direct’s services, such as a credit card or personal loan, will not be charged. A number of lenders have now commented on the fee introduction.
Helen Palmer, current account manager at Alliance & Leicester, remarked that up to 195,000 customers could be charged a total of £23 million annually “for what is essentially a very basic current account”.
Furthermore, first direct could face similar problems to those seen when Abbey National attempted to charge customers in 1993, which “cost it millions of pounds and dented its reputation”, according to Susan Hannums, AWD Chase De Vere’s savings manager.
Halifax has maintained its commitment to free banking and said that it hopes other building societies and banks will do the same.
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