Democrats in congress are going after Bank of America over their recent announcement that a $5 debit card fee will be charged to "free checking" customers on a monthly basis.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Rep. Brad Milling are creating legislation that would assist customers in swapping their electronic bills, direct deposit and other automated features when they leave their bank. At the same time Durbin is urging BofA customers to stop using their debit cards all together.
In the meantime a coalition representing banks called it:
"Astounding that Senator Durbin, who created today’s chaos, is now trying to point the finger at everyone but himself."The increase in debit card fees for customers comes after Durbin helped enact the "swipe fee reform" which limits the amount banks can charge merchants for accepting debit card fees. Swipe fees were limited to nearly half their former $.45 ceiling rates under the bill.
Bank of America argues that they have to charge the new debit card fee in order to make up nearly $5 billion annually they are losing under the new swipe fee charge reduction.
In the meantime some consumer protection groups are arguing that the new limits actually open up the free market by requiring banks to compete against one another for customers through the use of free systems that big banks are abandoning.