But the veteran banker, who ran
"In too many instances, banks today are charging excessive overdraft charges and other fees to those who can least afford it," Clements said Friday. "We want to help people find ways to lower or eliminate those fees and keep more of their money."
Clements learned first hand about bank fees and credit card charges during his career at
Unlike many consumer activists, Clements isn't looking for stricter regulations from the new
Clements says he was inspired by British personal finance reporter
"He did two things brilliantly," Clement said. "He made it easy for people to make better financial choices and he was not afraid to speak up when he thought products or practices were unfair."
To help research their American version of such a service, Clements and Karimzad came to
By identifying better savings options, cash-back credit cards and checking accounts with lower fees, Clements said he helped one local woman find accounts that would have saved or earned her
Although Clements contends banks often make hefty profits from such fees, bankers note that most people don't pay such fees. A survey released in April by the
Online banks often offer lower overdraft charges, Clements said. But bankers counter than such remote banks don't offer as much personal service to customers.
"It sure is convenient to have a branch where you can walk in and talk to someone in person and figure out what is going on with your account or to be able to make a deposit on the spot rather than bouncing a check while you mail in your deposit," said
Banks make little, if any, income on most of their accounts and must charge fees to cover the expenses of trying to recover money when funds are depleted, according to ABA officials.
"Today's savvy consumers are avoiding many bank fees by taking steps like maintaining a minimum balance and only using ATMs owned by their bank," said Nssa Freddis, ABA's senior vice president and deputy chief counsel for Consumer Protection and Payments.
But Clements contends that most people don't have the ability to compare bank fees, interest rates, ATM charges and overdraft charges before picking a bank for their money. The new MagnifyMoney allows consumers to go online, plug in their personal spending and savings needs and have the web site identify the best banking option for that individual.
Ultimately, the new business also plans to offer financial planning guidance to help individuals lower or eliminate banking fees and maximize the return on their savings, Clement said.
"We strive to promote transparency and financial empowerment, so everyone is a well-informed bank, credit card and credit union customer," he said.
Unlike some web sites that highlight their sponsors, MagnifyMoney is designed to be transparent and unbiased, Clements said. The web site will ultimately make its money from highest rated banks that capture more business through the site and pay acquisition fees, Clements said.
"This model has worked well in
(c)2014 the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Visit the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.) at www.timesfreepress.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services