Banks fold and nix debit card fees

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Banks fold and nix debit card fees

Bank of America thought about charging customers a $5 fee to use their own debit cards starting this month. They toyed with the idea for a quite some, resolute and determined to undermine the battered public and consumer for more fees. So did the other banks like JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo as they introduced debit card fees in several states. The programs were in full swing but than suddenly something happened..

Than came this Occupywallstreet , denouncing big banks and staging protests and Occupying city Halls all across the nation. Its started in New York  at Zuccotti Park and spread to 500 cities under one month. These protests and heavy anti-bank messages sent shivers down the spines of bank executives and they perhaps looked out their windows and saw bunch of rag tag kids armed with laptops and geeky toys filling up the Times Square and clashing with Police day after day. That must have been a sight to see.

What followed next the Banks started nixing those $5 fees and the programs were scraped as soon as they came to fleece and threaten public accounts. Thousands marched and shouted slogans and closed their accounts at major banks taking them away to credit unions and local banks.

Bank of America held out among all of the big banks till the last, and finally they too caved in. Their own debit card fees nixed from public domain. Times are such that their own bubble could not stand the winds of change and blew over.

Did Ocupywallstreet sent a message? You bet it did. They sent the message loud and clear, with those virulent demonstrations and anti-bank slogans that raised public’s awareness and turned the sentiment. It started conversations on the kitchen tables across America and the one way street of bank hegemony got a bit loose for now. They yielded to the rising tide like smart people should. Here is a muted Bank of America statement carefully done.

“We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee,” said David Darnell, co-chief operating officer. “Our customers’ voices are most important to us. As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plans to do so.”

Occupywallstreet has its first success elsewhere too, It has drawn people from all walks of life battered in this non ending recession with low incomes and dwindling paychecks and has empowered people to take action.

In this case consumers started closing accounts and moving them to credit unions. The strategy that created real fear for the banks is that they might get run over. Suddenly their deposits which is their life and blood could be at risk. Every time a bank loses a checking account it loses that much cash flowing through the account for good. That is a huge loss to the bank and is a leverage a consumer can always use against a bank. So under these public pressures and getting a clue from Occupywallstreet, big banks gave up trying to make $5 on you ability to access you own cash.

This is small victory for the public and lots needs to be done. Do thank your Wall Street protester, he is  not standing there in vain.

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