Of course banking is not about competition- it is about collusion; it is a cartel. So in order to minimize the bank depositor flight, all banks have to add fees or none can. And thus today's not-so-surprising news:
"As the uproar swelled over Bank of America Corp.'s planned $5 monthly charge for debit card use, megabank rival Citigroup Inc. was notifying many Citibank customers that they soon would have to start paying for their checking accounts unless they maintained significantly higher balances... Easy Checking Package that had always been free, was being replaced in December with a new account package with a $15 monthly fee or $6,000 deposit minimum."
Choices, Choices... So let's see: Option A: Leave $6,000 in Citibank at one hundredth of one percent interest while it allows them to have $60,000 to invest in themselves or loan to others at 3-10% or more interest, thanks to fractional reserve. Or Option B: Maintain more direct, physical control of your money but give those fuckers $180/yr in fees for the "privilege" of keeping your bank account open.
I'm thinking the best option is Option C: Open a free checking with free debit card at a local Credit Union or smaller community bank, and thus tell Bank America, Citibank, Wells Fargo and the rest of the rot to go to hell. And if you're worried that by switching banks, you may not have smiling, friendly tellers talk to you, perhaps you may want to look into buying a puppy.