Experts Warn Debit Card Fee 'Victory' a Job Killer

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A public outcry has prompted Bank of America to back down from charging a $5 monthly debit card fee, which was set to begin next year.  

Several other major banks had already backed off on their plans for fee hikes following protests and petitions from consumers across the country.

The news is being billed as a victory for bank customers.

"I just happened to be the person who started the petition," activist Molly Katchpole said. "But if it weren't for the 306,000 people who signed it, it wouldn't be anywhere."

"I wanted to leave the bank, it made me so angry," BofA customer Julie Wilkinson recalled.

Some lawmakers say the debit card fee is another example of corporate greed.

"They withdrew them because the American people said enough in terms of the greed of Wall Street," Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said.

But banking officials and other analysts say new regulations passed by Congress have had a big role in the cost of banking and that banks are forced to pass the higher costs on to consumers.

"Regulations cost us $1.75 trillion every year. So this is a huge detriment to the economy that's weak at the moment," said Audrey Jones, assistant director of broadcast services at the Heritage Foundation.

The banking industry claims the cost from Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and other legislation runs in the billions of dollars. 

Consequently, what looks like a victory for consumers now may end up killing jobs in the financial services industry and put more Americans in the unemployment line.

"I think you're going to have a lot of small banks say, 'I can't do this. I've had enough. There's no way I can survive,'" said Frank Keating, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association.

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John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.