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Sign a petition against SunTrust’s new increased checking account balance requirement

A petition has been created on the ForceChange.com site to protest SunTrust’s new increased checking account balance requirement.  Here is a direct link in case you’d like to sign-up/join in.

While I mean no disrespect to the author of the petition letter, it does contain one sentence that I am afraid may fall upon deaf ears as it is intended to be sent to SunTrust’s CEO:

“Imagine losing your job or struggling with a low income, and on top of it being assessed a monthly fee taking away more precious funds.”

Unfortunately, I don’t think very many top banking executives are worried about their personal finances (stock options, bonuses, perks, “golden handcuffs”).  Yet the PR spin proclaiming , “poor, pitiful banks–regulations did this,” for the most part apparently unquestioned by the media, continues.  Meanwhile, look at Suntrust’s 10-K filed with the SEC February 24, 2012.  I found this statement on page 40 regarding SunTrust’s increased employee compensation expenses interesting (especially since I haven’t had a raise in four years while the price of cream cheese has risen from approximately 89 cents to $1.89):

“The $130 million, or 5%, increase in employee compensation expense related to higher compensation from improved business performance and increases in client-facing full-time equivalent employees.

I also found in advancing through SunTrust’s “Regulatory Filings” numerous instances where a “Statement of changes in beneficial ownership of securities” was made, as depicted by the screenshot below.

Screenshot of Suntrust Regulatory Filings page showing "Statement of changes in beneficial ownership of securities" links

Now, I can already guess that a retort, “this is taken out of context,” could be submitted if the above quote was found to be disagreeable by SunTrust or anyone else.  But then again, so are statements like: “Over the last few years, changing financial regulations have cut into the revenue of big banks like SunTrust,” and “The pricing changes reflect the costs of doing business” (the latter was attributed to a SunTrust spokesperson; here is a link to the Huffington Post article from which these two examples were taken).

I acknowledge that it is true, “higher compensation” for SunTrust employees does qualify as a “cost of doing business.”

Here’s another interesting tidbit, quoting an article found on Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch site (Aug. 9, 2011): “[SunTrust's board] approved a sharp increase to the company’s quarterly dividend, making it one of the latest companies to join a growing trend of corporations rewarding shareholders with cash.”

So, student checking account holders and others with small account balances, the lesson is, as an alternative to suffering and petitioning against SunTrust, you could change your strategy.  Become a SunTrust shareholder and then you can benefit when it triples its checking account balance requirement and/or imposes other fees that “reflect the costs of doing business.”

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