To the victors goes the gloating.
Bank of America has backed off its plan to charge a $5 monthly fee for debit card use. And now, Molly Katchpole, a consumer who started a national petition against the fee, and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), a trade group that represents credit unions, are twisting the stake they stuck in the bank's eye.
Katchpole's petition, posted on the Change.org website, collected more than 300,000 virtual signatures. In a message titled, "How We Won," the website has recapped BofA's brief concession speech and added: "In less than one month, Bank of America went from announcing the fee, to reeling under huge pressure from the media, Congress and Change.org. When Bank of America announced that it was restructuring the fee, Molly and others continued to push the bank until it agreed to end the fee for all customers. The decision marks an incredible victory for Molly ... in successfully challenging one of America’s most powerful financial institutions and also influencing the behavior of other major banks."
CUNA, meanwhile, also took an extra jab at its members' big-bank competitor.
"The damage for Bank of America has already been done. Now, the bank has to figure out a way to make up for the revenue it is forgoing by rescinding its debit card fee. Consumers should be mindful of this going forward," the group declared in a statement. "In the meantime, the emphasis on credit unions over the last several weeks has been phenomenal. If nothing else, this extraordinary period has exposed more people to the value of credit unions, which we hope will translate to longer-term relationships. Indeed, by what we are hearing from our member credit unions across the nation, tens of thousands of consumers have already made the change to credit unions, bringing with them hundreds of millions of dollars of savings."
What remains to seen is whether BofA will suffer any lasting hurt to its business and what other fees big banks will impose to make up the debit card transaction revenue they lost as a result of the U.S. government's caps on certain debit card interchange fees.
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