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BANKING : B of A Gives Seniors Loophole for Free Checking Account

October 21, 1992|James S. Granelli, Times staff writer

Orange County's senior citizens who want to move their accounts to Bank of America don't have much time left to take advantage of free checking.

Technically, the state's largest bank no longer offers free checking to customers over 62 years old. It stopped offering its "Service 62 Account" at the end of May, a month after it acquired the state's second-largest bank, Security Pacific National Bank.

But Security Pacific offers a loophole that covers more seniors. Those 55 and older still can take advantage of the "55 Account" if they hurry to a branch still operating as Security Pacific. Once those branches start closing or converting to B of A offices, free checking for seniors will no longer be offered.

"Customers who already have the account are grandfathered in, and they will continue to use the account," said Harvey Radin, a B of A spokesman. "Customers who have the '55 Account' with Security Pacific also will be grandfathered in."

B of A has already announced that 29 of 92 branches will be closed early next year in North County and South County. All remaining Security Pacific branches in those areas will be converted at the same time to B of A branches.

Banking industry leaders expect that B of A will close about a third of the remaining 37 branches in central Orange County and convert the rest of the county's Security Pacific branches by the end of February.

Each Security Pacific branch will stop offering free checking to seniors about two weeks before the actual conversion, Radin said.

He said B of A's decision to stop offering free checking to senior citizens came as part of a revamping of its checking account product line last spring.

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