Bank of America's recent announcement that it would charge a $5 a month fee for its customers to use its debit card brought jeers from consumer groups, the National Retail Federation (NRF) and many others.
While the bank's actions can be criticized, it certainly should not have come as a surprise to any that it and many other financial institutions will be raising fees to make up for revenues and profits lost as a result of reduced swipe fees mandated in the Durbin Amendment, legislation strongly pushed by retailers.
A RetailWire discussion back in April found that most thought any fee hikes resulting from legislation that shifted costs from one place to another would be blamed on banks and not retailers.
Tony Orlando, owner of Tony O's Supermarket & Catering, said at the time, "Let the banks eat crow, as consumers are fed up with them. Supermarkets have become banks for some folks, as they use our money to keep the fees lower, so the repercussions will not fall on us."
Mallory Duncan, senior vice president and general counsel at the NRF, recently told Fox Business News, "Bank of America did this to themselves. They are the ones that decided to impose this $5 fee. If they see their customers leaving, you can bet your bottom dollar that they'll start re-thinking whether that's a wise idea."
As to the promised savings as a result of lower fees, Mr. Duncan said retailers are working on ways to pass those along to consumers.
"Change won't come overnight, but consumers will definitely benefit," Mr. Duncan is quoted by CSP Daily News. "Reducing these fees will put billions of dollars back into the Main Street economy, helping American families stretch their paychecks and ultimately preserving and creating local jobs to keep America on the road to recovery."
How much will the Durbin Amendment cost or save American consumers?