Washington Post: Banks Defend New Debit Fees Amid Pressure from Washington, Presents Opportunity for CUs

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 12:23:00 PM

WASHINGTON - The media frenzy sparked by Bank of America's new $5/month debit fee continues. In today's Washington Post, an article titled "Banks Defend Debit-Card Fees Amid Pressure from Washington", highlights legislators' open criticism of the bank's new fee and banks' lackluster defense of their new charges.

According to the Washington Post, Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) introduced a bill that would make it easier for customers to close their bank accounts, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) sent a letter to community banks and credit unions in his home state urging them to "seize this competitive opportunity" to woo consumers away from larger institutions, and President Obama criticized the move as a way for banks to pad their profits at the expense of consumers.

B of A says that isn't so. B of A and other banks have cited new federal rules on interchange as the reason for their hike in fees.

The article points out that this trend at big banks presents a unique opportunity for community banks and credit unions to help those frustrated with new fees. CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney told the Washington Post, "Our point is, if you're upset, you should do something about it." Traffic to CUNA's consumer awareness Web site, aSmarterChoice.org, has jumped eightfold since news of Bank of America's fee, according to the article.

The article is available in its entirety here.

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