Brokerage firms make a play for your bank business, too.
Wall Street's biggest firms, fresh from a massive regulatory settlement over allegations that they published tainted research and blackmailed corporate executives during the bull market, now want to be your banker as well as your stockbroker. Oh, and they'd like you to pay more for the privilege, too.
Merrill Lynch rolled out a new program this year called Beyond Banking, offering customers with six-figure accounts such extras as FDIC-insured, interest-bearing cash accounts, direct-deposit service, debit cards, unlimited check writing, no-fee Internet bill payment and reimbursements for ATM fees paid to other banks. Meanwhile, discount broker Charles Schwab has applied for a federal bank charter and hopes to begin offering checking accounts, savings accounts and certificates of deposit as soon as this year. Brokerage industry sources say Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, UBS PaineWebber and others may follow.
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