TCF to end free checking

New strategy to generate bank revenue could cost students.

For the past 15 years, TCF Financial Corporation has been the University of MinnesotaâÄôs preferred bank. Look anywhere on campus and youâÄôre sure to see the TCF logo. It appears twice on the back of the UCard alone. TCF pays for its prominent position on campus through $1 million in annual contractual reimbursements to the University âÄî an amount that doesnâÄôt include funds that sponsor on-campus events. In exchange, the University herds new students to TCF during orientation, past ubiquitous on-campus advertisements year-round and brings the bank new accounts for an estimated 85 percent of incoming University students. One of the original booms for TCF was totally free checking âÄî a concept it introduced back in 1986. However, due to new federal regulations on overdraft fees, the bank is trying to find new sources of revenue. Part of their solution is new monthly fees for account holders. TCF isnâÄôt the first bank to end its totally free checking program. J.P. Morgan Chase recently added a $6 monthly fee for its account holders. If TCF adopts a similar fee, that could mean up to $72 or more annually out of the pockets of over 1 million account holders, many of which are students. Ultimately, it will be up to students and other customers to decide whether TCFâÄôs services are worth a monthly fee. Certainly, the mere fact of the UniversityâÄôs prominent business partnership with TCF doesnâÄôt guarantee student loyalty. Though, if the bankâÄôs once-hefty overdraft fees didnâÄôt drive customers away, a possible $6 a month wonâÄôt be too daunting.