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BofA debit fee foes pile on

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Friday, November 4, 2011
Posted: 9 am ET

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.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff

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4 Comments
Harvey
December 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Bank of America is one of the worst banks;I would suggest for this young lady she move her funds to a small regional bank or a credit union.

JohnM.
December 03, 2011 at 8:03 am

Why doesn't Bank of America pay back the people it stole from before they cancel the fee? At least the fee is honest where the lying and fraud were criminal.

HoosierNewman
November 06, 2011 at 11:38 pm

RE: the bank has to figure out a way to make up for the revenue it is forgoing by rescinding its debit card fee.

No they don't- They never had the money, now they are not getting any. They Lost Nothing! As a business - mark the product line as caustic and move on. Banks, if you think the people are finished, maybe you should clean up your act. It's not yours, it is a product. We produce it, you hold it. That's your only job. If you want to make money. Quit buying in limping markets and sell what don't work.

This was simply a ploy to take more money because transaction fees went down on debit cards.

Mike
November 06, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Compare B of A to a credit union. What is the administrative costs for the B of A? What is the income for the BofA? What is the income for the CEO at BofA? How many loans does 1 BofA bank make as compared to a local credit union down the street? Who is more customer centered? There are many more questions and someone should post these questions and answers on facebook. Why is it so difficult for me to get a refi loan through BofA when my credit is above 780?