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In March of this year I wrote a short piece about the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd -Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. I had the opportunity to trek back to Washington and testify on behalf of a business advocacy group I belong to about the deleterious impact of excessive debit card charges (swipe fees) on small businesses across the country and the resulting impact on consumer prices. It was an uphill battle as banks were throwing over $100,000 a day into their lobbying effort to keep this from being implemented. The loss to them from these fees is estimated at $50 Billion, with a B, a year.
Amazingly enough, consumer interests prevailed in spite of the dire warning from the big banks of repercussions to follow. If you're a business owner, you should have seen your debit card usage charges go down in July by as much as 70%.
But now the banks are following through on their pledge to develop 'other sources of revenue'. You've heard about the much vaunted ploy by B of A and others to institute a $3 or $5 / month 'fee' for using your debit card. Everybody from Sen. Durbin to Pres. Obama to the Occupy Wall Streeters and consumers across the country have criticized this new fee - with many consumers simply pulling up stakes and moving their accounts to smaller banks that don't pull this kind of stuff.
In response, Chase & Wells have decided to drop their plans to institute these charges after their limited market testing period run out next month. B of A has also apparently smelled the coffee and, short of saying they will not go forward with the plan, have at least announced they are reviewing the program.
I have no doubt that these banks are losing money on some avenues of debit/credit card usage. However, the problem is largely of their own making. First of all, they claim those fees were used to off-set bad debt losses - after inviting nearly every breathing biped in the country to take one or more of their cards. In fact their invitations were not confined to breathing bipeds but to several deceased bipeds along with numerous quadrupeds like the family dog and cat. And they wonder why there are losses and claim it's our fault.
Then after making sure everybody was carrying one or more of their cards, they launched a major effort to get us to switch from credit to debit cards. They did this by offering numerous rewards and incentives which, prior to Durbin, were carried on the backs of businesses and indirectly passed on to consumers.
Now they have decided this was not a good strategy after all and want us to again shoulder the cost of their mistakes. But people are standing up to them in unprecedented numbers - in fact some people are even camping out in parks in protest. Most of them don't know what they're protesting in a specific sense but in general this is exactly the kind of banking shenanigans that is driving some of the protesters - at least those that are cognizant of real fiscal matters.
So keep up the good work. Not just the Occupiers, but all you folks on main street. Sometimes standing in your window yelling 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more' gets the job done. Especially if enough of us do it. Together we can accomplish great things - like throwing a bunch of bums out of office next November - but only if we stay focused.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.