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HSBC introduces monthly maintenance fee for passbook savings accounts
June 29, 2010
12:07 am
Doug
British Columbia, Canada
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From HSBC Bank Canada's company Web page, https://www.hsbc.ca/1/2/en/personal/personal-internet-banking/pasbook-record:

"Effective August 27, 2010, customers who use passbooks on the following accounts will be charged a monthly fee of CAD $5.00 or equivalent: Regular Savings, Investment Savings, Foreign Currency Savings, Performance Activity, Performance Unlimited and Performance Plus.

To switch to a free record keeping option such as e-Statement or Paper Statement, or if you have any questions, please contact an in-branch representative or call 1-888-310-HSBC (4722).

Thank you for choosing HSBC."

This has to do with a technology streamlining and upgrading initiative called "One HSBC" to have one technology system, with fewer local country changes, and streamlined product types. Being we're one of the few countries still using passbooks, I think this makes sense. This fee applies to all types of customers including HSBC Premier, HSBC Advance and seniors' accounts. To avoid the monthly maintenance fee, one can change their account from a "PSV" account type to an "SSV" account type and receive e-statements or paper statements instead.

Cheers,
Doug

July 29, 2010
9:39 pm
KC
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I just keep my money in the passbook. Seldom use the money there. Why should I be charged a monthly fee? I think paper statement would cost the bank more, comparing to passbook.
I suspect that the bank is trying to take more money from us.

July 30, 2010
12:36 am
Doug
British Columbia, Canada
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I agree with you, KC, and it's not a decision I agree with. However, I can state that the reason behind the move was to align themselves with the other Big Five banks, all of which charge a fee for passbook recordkeeping. The difference with them is they waive the passbook recordkeeping fee for children, senior citizens and bank staff accounts whereas with HSBC there are no exceptions to the fee. It is mandatory even for staff.

The primary reason behind the fee is because HSBC is upgrading its banking platform to a global technology platform that requires fewer local country changes and should save on I.T. costs as other countries don't use passbooks.

I think another reason for instituting the fee is to drain down the balances of inactive, possibly dormant, passbook savings accounts and eventually weeding them out of the system.

As for it costing more to mail statements, further savings are being obtained as people will be changed to composite (consolidated) monthly statements and/or e-statements. As well, going forward, mail will be stamped with a U.S. postage meter and carry a Buffalo, NY, return address where postage costs are cheaper.

To change to a statement account, you will need to open a High Rate Savings account which carries essentially the same service charges without a monthly fee. The downside is it will be a new account number.

Cheers,
Doug

August 15, 2010
11:10 pm
Doug
British Columbia, Canada
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HSBC has chosen to suspend implementation of the monthly maintenance fee for all passbook accounts, effective immediately. It didn't specifically state a reason but I suspect negative customer feedback at least, in part, influenced their decision.

They did, however, say the plan to completely eliminate passbook recordkeeping early next year will go ahead but they're going to do it differently (what we should've done in the first place, in my opinion) and that involves changing the account type to a "statement" account from a "passbook" account en masse while preserving customer account numbers.

I thought I'd update everyone on that.

Cheers,
Doug

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