A news story this week said some local banks are ending the practice of returning canceled checks to their customers. The reason given was the cost of postage -- 41 cents a month for the average customer. Sending out only a statement (15 cents) would save a bank with 20,000 customers $62,400 a year, bankers said.
I have a rather active checking account and I save my canceled checks for many years. Upon reading about that 41-cent postage for the "average" custgomer, I wondered what it has cost my bank to send back my large bundle of checks each month.
When I looked it up, I learn that going back to the time first-class postage rose to 15 cents for the first ounce and 13 cents for each additional ounce, the postage on my checks has never -- and I mean not ever -- been more than 28 cents a month. In other words, the maximum my bank could save by sending me a statement instead of returning my canceled checks would be 13 cents a month or $1.56 year.
Banks waste much more than that on the advertising junk they print up to stuff into the envelopes in which they return canceled checks. Sometimes I wonder whether my banker friends have all their marbles.