ATLANTA (AP) —Atlanta-based SunTrust is joining other competitors that are requiring higher minimum deposits on basic checking accounts to avoid paying fees.

The changes go into effect Aug. 24 and affect customers who have Everyday Checking, Student Checking and Solid Choice accounts.

To avoid a $7 monthly service fee, customers with the bank’s basic Everyday Checking account must maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500, instead of the current $500 requirement, or must have a monthly direct deposit of at least $100. Overdraft fees also rise to $36 from $25.

SunTrust’s Student Checking and Solid Choice Banking customers face a $2 fee for using non-SunTrust ATMs and Solid Choice customers also will no longer receive refunds of up to $10 a month for surcharges imposed by non-SunTrust ATMs.

SunTrust Mortgage Inc. has also agreed to pay $21 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in its lending practices.

The consent order was filed last Thursday in U.S. District Court in Richmond, where the company has its headquarters. The order says SunTrust Mortgage denies wrongdoing but agreed to the settlement to avoid costly litigation.

The U.S. Justice Department’s complaint alleged that black and Hispanic borrowers were charged more for loans. The department says it reviewed more than 850,000 residential mortgage loans originated by the company between 2005 and 2009.

The settlement requires the lender to continue using policies it later adopted to prevent discrimination.

The agreement is subject to court approval.


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