It is very easy for us to think that we are insignificant to our bank, especially when we are looking at the funds in our checking or savings account. However, in the case of banking, size actually does matter and it is not necessarily a large size. After the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 that led to the failure of hundreds of banks in the United States, legislation was passed to try to prevent this from happening again. In the United States, this legislation is known as Dodd-Frank and internationally another set of banking standards that needs to be implemented is BASEL III.
Both of these new industry standards come with many requirements of the banks, but one of the important keys is that they place a higher emphasis on the "mom and pop" client within the bank. After all, a mom and pop filing for bankruptcy is not going to destroy a bank like a Lehman Brothers might. So what does this mean for us on Main Street? It means that now, more than ever, we are valuable to our banks. Our "small" yet stable checking and savings accounts are given high value on bank's balance sheets.
Despite the fact that regulators have told banks that we are valuable, we also do a number of activities that add value to our banks all the time. Every time we swipe a debit card or credit card, our bank makes an interchange fee that is paid to them by the merchants whose stores we shop in. Every time we bank at an ATM or through our mobile device, we are saving the bank money by not consuming a human resource. We also save banks money by paying bills online and via auto debit because that is one less check that they have to clear.
If you are still not convinced of the value you provide to your bank, then just check out their website or a local branch and see what sort of incentives they are offering to new customers. I have seen banks offer as much as $100 in statement credit for new accounts. So the next time you see a bank fee hit your account that doesn't make sense, don't be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for it to be refunded. The banks know how valuable you are, which is why most will refund that fee, so it's time that you did too!