COLUMBUS, Ohio--A survey of banks and credit unions in 24 states and the District of Columbia has found free checking is still widely available at smaller financial institutions while few big banks offer the service.

The report by the Ohio Public Interest Research Group found that six out of 10 small banks and credit unions offer free checking, but only one-quarter of big banks — institutions with more than $10 billion in deposits — offer the service.

The survey also found that fewer than half of all branches surveyed complied with their legal obligation to fully disclose fees to customers on the first request, while 12% of branches provided no fee information, according to Ohio PIRG.

Ohio PIRG said 12% of financial institutions never complied or refused to provide fee information, saying it was unavailable or telling surveyors to "go online."

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