Saturday, October 29, 2011


It's amazing what a little press coverage and a little consumer push-back can accomplish. Even the mighty banksters sometimes pay attention.

From an AP article on the new debit card fees:

On Friday, Bank of America bent. A source at the bank, who asked not to be identified because the policy is still evolving, said it likely it will offer ways for its customers to avoid debit card fees through using direct deposit, maintaining minimum balances or using Bank of America credit cards.

And it's not just Bank of America:

The retail banking arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co. will stop charging $3-per-month fees for using debit cards when its current pilot in Wisconsin and Georgia is completed in November, a source with knowledge of the bank's plans told The Associated Press. The individual asked not to be identified because the bank has not officially announced the program will not go forward. ...

And it's not alone in rethinking its actions. Wells Fargo & Co. began a similar pilot in five states on Oct. 14, testing a flat $3 fee for using debit for purchases. On Friday it also announced that it is cancelling its test program.

What happened?

Well, banks just are not in high favor right now, as the Occupy Wall Street movement has made clear. People of all ages and most political persuasions are not happy that these mega-corporations got bailed out with government funds while the rest of us are scrapping just to put food on the table. It didn't help that with the taxpayer monies, banks and their upper management are making more money than ever before while the rest of us are not making any money or making considerably less.

As soon as the press reported on the new fees, the outrage meter went past the red zone and customers threatened, and many actually followed through, to move their accounts to credit unions or to banks who hadn't yet implemented the change.

I think this is a significant and a hopeful sign that masses of people have had enough. $60 a year doesn't sound like much, but it is a symbolic slap in the face to the 99% of us for whom any extra costs are burdensome. We've had enough.

Now, if we could just keep pushing back, we might get somewhere.

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Anonymous bo said...

I imagine they are seeing a metric assload of customers closing accounts and heading for credit unions.

No debit card fees. Hell, my SSI comes electronically, and if I make 10 debit card purchases, I get interest paid on the account.

7:35 AM  

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