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ELKO — With the announcements of new monthly fees from several nationwide banks, some customers are fleeing fees in favor of local banks.

While the fees are being applied at varying times throughout the next year, a number of local customers have already began moving their business.

Tom Gust, Elko branch manager of Nevada Bank and Trust, said he wasn’t surprised by the number of people switching banks.

“People are pretty price sensitive in this economy,” said Gust, adding that at this time there are no plans to raise fees at Nevada Bank and Trust.

“With smaller banks such as ours ... our overhead and costs associated with overhead aren’t as high as a lot of the larger nationwide banks,” Gust said, which trickles down with costs for customers being less.

The Elko area is served by a number of smaller banks and credit unions that are not sure what to expect in the future.

Kelly Buckner, president and CEO of Elko Federal Credit Union, has received phone calls from members and others asking if the credit union charges a similar fee. He said there are no plans at this point to implement a fee, though the new regulations will make an impact.

“Many of the new requirements that are coming in the (Dodd-Frank) Act aren’t supposed to trickle down, but many of them are,” said Gust. He added that smaller banks tend to struggle more with these regulations than larger banks do.

Gust said he’s seen a few people transition from nationwide banks to his location since the announcement of the new monthly fees.

Local resident Calli Knudsen expressed frustration with the fee’s implementation.

“Everyone is just going to go back to cash and stashing it in their sock drawers,” Knudsen said. “If it’s an effort to increase their revenues, I believe it will backfire.”

Besides switching banks, restricting debit card use is another avenue to pursue if looking to avoid the monthly fee.

Bank of America customer Doug Knight began using direct deposit, cash and money orders to pay his bills after he ran into trouble with a credit card. He hasn’t made a point of using a debit card, and was happy the new regulations wouldn’t impact his banking so long as he continued not to.

“(Legislation) is certainly going to change the industry, whether large or small,” said Gust. “There’s a lot of conjecture but for the most part none of us really know. We’re all just kind of waiting.”

Phone calls made to Nevada State Bank were not immediately returned.

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