Some of the most disconcerting fees are for services that were once a given, like sending customers a monthly statement of their account. Many banks now charge $2 to $3 a month for paper statements, or more if you want copies of your checks. As with overdraft penalties, the banks claim they are merely encouraging good behavior—this time in the name of the planet. "It's reflective of our commitment to be green by encouraging customers to use electronic statements," a U.S. Bank spokesperson recently told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The banks, howver, may be looking for another kind of green. Wells-Fargo's "Value Checking" charges monthly fees for sending images of cancelled checks — whether the customer wrote any checks that month or not — blurring the correlation between trees and fees.
At any rate, banks could as easily reward customers who opt for electronic-only statements by crediting their accounts $2 a month, passing on the savings in paper and mailing costs.