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Citizens Bank boosts fees for checking accounts

Citizens Bank

Globe File Photo

The Citizens Bank at 28 State Street

Citizens Bank, the state’s second-largest retail bank, plans to boost some of its checking account fees and make other key changes next month.

The Providence-based regional bank plans to double the monthly charge for its popular Green Checking account from $4.99 to $9.99 on April 23. Customers can avoid the fee by maintaining a balance of at least $1,500 or making five qualifying transactions, such as using a debit card, each month.

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The bank also plans to boost the monthly fee for its personal checking with interest account by $2 to $11.99 next month. Customers can avoid the fee by maintaining an average daily balance of $2,500 or making five qualifying transactions each month.

The company is also making other changes, including eliminating its basic checking and several business checking accounts (Business Partners II, III and Plus.) Basic Checking customers will be moved to the Green Checking. Business customers will be switched to its new Business Advisor Checking account, which requires a $10,000 minimum balance to avoid a $25 monthly fee.

The bank is also eliminating free or discounted fees for check orders for its Circle Checking accounts, but says the fees will vary.

The move comes as many banks are looking for new ways to increase revenue to offset the cost of new regulations, the sluggish economy, and low interest rates.

Citizens Bank spokeswoman Lauren DiGeronimo said the changes are part of a review that began a year and a half ago to boost profits and standardize products across Citizens’ 12-state territory.

“These changes are designed to make our offerings more uniform and easier to understand, and also to make them more economically sustainable in light of recent regulatory and legislative changes affecting our industry,” DiGeronimo said.

DiGeronimo said the bank also decided to add information to its statements to let customers how they can avoid the monthly maintenance fees.

Citizens Bank, a unit of the Royal Bank of Scotland, has more than 1,500 branches.

Todd Wallack can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @twallack.
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