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Massachusetts’s Galvin Seeks Bank Rule to Push No-Fee Checking

Massachusetts’s top securities regulator said he is seeking legislation to bar firms such as Bank of America Corp. from holding state deposits unless they offer customers free basic checking accounts.

“Fees constitute a burden on many bank customers, in particular the elderly and the young, especially in these days when banks offer little or no interest on deposits,” the state’s secretary of the commonwealth, William Galvin, said today in a statement. He was responding to a Wall Street Journal article today on a Bank of America pilot program for new fees.

“We have been testing in select markets for more than a year and plan to continue to learn from those tests,” said Anne Pace, spokeswoman for the Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm. The bank provides ways to avoid fees, and “we have made no decisions on the construct of new product offerings,” she said.

Bank of America, the second-biggest U.S. lender by assets, announced the pilot program in January 2011.

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