Durbin and Wal-Mart vs. Consumers

If you bank at USAA you have not seen your checking account fee increase—but you still have lost an average of $84 a year from shut down rewards programs. That’s the equivalent of a $7/mo fee.

This is just one of the things that Reason’s James Groth points out in an op-ed published in Minyanville yesterday:

Instituting monthly fees on customers making purchases with debit cards—which would be a straightforward way to fund the provision of debit card services—has resulted in public outcry and a substantial outflow of customer deposit accounts forcing financial institutions to change tact and find other sources of revenue. Banks are planning to charge checking account fees for customers who do not meet minimum balance requirements, or who do not exclusively bank online and use online bill pay.

TD Bank (TD) has already raised fees on a host of services like wire transfers and money orders, and it has also created a $9 fee charging customers for making more than six withdrawals in a billing period. Some banks are exploring eliminating all overdraft and non-sufficient fund fee reimbursements. Banks may also place a $50 or $100 cap on the amount customers can charge per debit transaction.

Despite whether or not these fees are fair business decisions, they are not necessarily the actions of greedy bankers squeezing what they can from their customers. Even USAA, a part co-operative serving primarily America’s U.S. military personnel, veterans, and U.S. military family members, is cancelling programs as a direct result of the Durbin Amendment costing its banking customers an estimated $84 per year.

The Durbin Amendment will cost customers banking with Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo close to $200 per year depending on the mix of fees they choose to adopt.

See the whole commentary here.