Banks beginning to source new revenues from consumers

While a number of new banking regulations have been established to curb risk and the prospect of another financial collapse, an unfortunate side-effect of these rules has been reduced revenue.

While a number of new banking regulations have been established to curb risk and the prospect of another financial collapse, an unfortunate side-effect of these rules has been reduced revenue - capital that institutions frequently turn to their customers to account for.

For example, a number of banks have begun weighing fees on debit cards in an effort to compensate for revenue losses stemming from new caps on credit card "swipe fees."

What's more, banks have begun scaling back on free checking accounts in recent years to generate new sources of revenue. According to a report released this week by Bankrate, less than half of all non-interest checking accounts - 45 percent - are currently free, down from 65 percent in 2010 and 75 percent the year before.

"The decline of free checking is in full swing, however, savvy consumers can take advantage of an increasing amount of fee waivers, most commonly with direct deposit. Ninety-two percent of noninterest accounts are either free or can become free," said Bankrate senior financial analyst Greg McBride.

Banks are also beginning to require higher balances in order to avoid account fees. In all, consumers should be careful about these changes and conduct due diligence in vetting banks.