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Baybank, the largest bank in Harvard Square, is waiving its monthly fees during the summer in an attempt to persuade students not to close their accounts during those months, officials said yesterday.
"Students who will not be using their Baybank account over the summer can put their account 'on hold' free of charges," Pamela S. Henrikson, the bank's regional president, said in a statement released last month.
Baybank charges students older than 19 transaction fees plus $1.50 per month if their average account balance is below $250. Students are charged those fees, even if their account remains inactive over the summer, unless they place the account on hold, said Mike J. Gagnon, a Baybank service generalist.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Henrickson said the fee waivers make saving by college students more convenient, and the plan "gives them the opportunity to save time and money."
Cambridge Trust Company offers a similar plan, requiring students to remove all of their money except for $10, said Miriam P. Hall, assistant vice-president.
"We've offered that service for about 15 years," she said. "We don't think it's fair to charge students over the summer months."
Cambridge Savings Bank does not charge fees on any student savings account, said Alison Charello, vice-president of marketing.
"We're not as big as the other banks, but we offer exceptional customer service and low fees," she said.
Though Baybank and Cambridge Trust waive service fees, they do not allow students to receive any interest on their money. This upsets some students.
"If I have the account on hold, it's like giving the bank a certificate of deposit," said Nick Anthony-Buford '97.
He said the banks should always pay interest on accounts since they invest the money themselves.
"They should be paying me for the privilege of using my money," he said.
Although disappointed about not collecting interest on their summer accounts, most students said they liked the plan because it saves them money and spares them the hassle of transferring their money to other banks.
"I was thinking about moving my money to a bank without fees, but now I'll probably leave it in Baybank," said Sammy C. Lai '97.
J. Keller Norris '94 agreed. "It's a pain, but last summer I rewired my money back home to California," he said.
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