Bank Fee Disclosures Deficient — same as Mortgages

By Gail Liberman and Alan Lavine

Last update: 7:33 p.m. EST March 5, 2008

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (MarketWatch) — Get out an extra-powerful magnifying glass if you’re trying to learn what fees you’ll be charged once you open a checking or savings account.

A U.S. Government Accountability Office report released this week says getting this information could prove tough. Reason: Consumers are not consistently getting required disclosures on fees and account terms and conditions prior to opening an account. GAO reps, posing as customers, visited 185 branches of 154 depository institutions.

  

They were unable to obtain detailed fee information at more than one-fifth of branches visited. Nor could the GAO find the information on the Web sites of many institutions. Bank regulators, the GAO says, need to do a better job getting depository institutions to give consumers these mandated disclosures.

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