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Congress asked to probe banks' service charges

The chairman of the House Banking Committee, Fernand St Germain (D) of Rhode Island, has called for a congressional investigation of new fees imposed by banks on social security check cashing and other services.

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''At a time of deregulation and its supposed benefits to consumers, I fear bank customers are being nickeled and dimed to death by a host of new fees,'' Mr. St Germain said. He pointed to a ruling this month which said a national bank could impose any deposit-account service charge it wished regardless of state laws. St Germain also said some banks plan on Jan. 1 to impose a $2 fee for cashing non-customers' social security checks or to put a three- or four-day hold on US Treasury salary checks before crediting an account.