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The mainstream media gins up a campaign to shift blame for fees away from Obama, Durbin, and Dodd-Frank.
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Then, there are Katchpole’s other petitions on Change.org. These include a letter calling on GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain to release his accusers from their non-disclosure agreements, a pledge to “help to win the election by organizing in my community” to repay the president for Obamacare’s mandate for covering birth control in insurance policies, and a demand to stop a Congressional investigation of Planned Parenthood. If Katchpole is indeed living “paycheck to paycheck,” it’s time for her progressive employers to give her a raise!
While Katchpole’s petition and Bank Transfer Day may help deflect blame from Durbin, Obama, and Dodd-Frank, they won’t help consumers and will do little for smaller banks and credit unions. Even before BofA announced the debit fee in September, a Bankrate.com survey found that in the year since passage of Dodd-Frank and Durbin’s measure, just 45 percent of non-interest bank checking accounts were free, down 76 percent from two years earlier, and that the average monthly fee for a non-interest account was $4.37, up 75 percent from a year earlier.
And even though smaller financial institutions are technically exempt from explicit price controls, they are subject to other provisions of Durbin’s measure and fear merchants will discriminate against the debit cards they issue. As the Credit Union National Association has stated: “[The Durbin Amendment] will impose a severe hardship on credit unions with debit card programs, draining the revenue they need to offset the costs of providing card services. Much as they would prefer not to, credit unions will have no recourse but to make up these costs by imposing new fees or service restrictions on their members. How are consumers better off under this scenario? The plain fact is they are not.”
So if consumers really want to stop higher banking fees, they should organize a Bad Policy Transfer Day and tell Congress to get rid of the Durbin Amendment and much of the rest of Dodd-Frank. They can start by “billing” those responsible with “Durbin Dollars,” downloadable on the website of my organization.
Trey Kovacs, a policy analyst at CEI, contributed to this article.
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