Can Banksters be Shamed–or at Least Influenced–by Public Opinion?Posted: November 1, 2011
It sure looks that way. From the Wall Street Journal:
Bank of America Corp. is dropping its plan to charge customers $5 a month for making purchases with their debit cards, a person familiar with the situation said.
The move is a dramatic retreat following decisions by several rivals in recent days to drop customer tests of the new fees. SunTrust Banks Inc. and Regions Financial Corp. also said Monday that they will stop charging customers for debit-card transactions.
Bank of America decided against the fees due to negative customer feedback on the plan and the moves by rivals, which left the Charlotte, N.C., lender as the only big bank planning to levy the fee on some customers next year.
According to Bloomberg, BofA CEO David Darnell claims the bank just “listened” to customers.
“We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee,” David Darnell, co-chief operating officer, said in a statement from the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender today. “As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plans to do so.”
Darnell wants us to believe that he had no clue that customers would be angry at being charged for accessing their own money. But actually, he apparently paid more attention to what his competitors were doing.
Bank of America reversed course after competitors including Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), the No. 2 debit-card issuer, decided not to charge similar fees. Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks Inc. (STI) and Regions Financial Corp., based in Birmingham, Alabama, said yesterday they will eliminate their check-card fees after customers rebelled.
At least it’s a small win for the 99%. And I’m sure the banks were paying close attention to the Occupy Movement too, even if they’ll never admit it.