As one Occupy Wall Street protester so eloquently wrote on a sign recently: "I bailed out the banks and all I got was a $5 debit card fee."
Well, thanks to protests of millions of other Americans, that $5 fee for debit card purchases may never see the light of day. Having felt the wrath of consumers and politicians alike, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase have decided to drop the charge. And, now add Suntrust to the list of banks revoking the monthly fee.
Bank of America, the first bank to announce the charge and the one that suffered the biggest backlash, is also amending its policy to exempt many customers from the $5 monthly fee. Customers who hold Bank of America credit cards, use directly deposit or hold a minimum balance will not be charged under a new plan.
As Aaron Task and Henry Blodget discuss in the accompanying clip, this is obviously good news for already cash-strapped consumers. After bailing out the "too big to fail" banks, consumers have not been rewarded with much in the last three years; to then have banks slap higher fees added insult to injury and was simply too much to bare for many Americans.
This exercise is a good sign for capitalism. The banks took an idea to market, the market rejected it and now the fees are going away. That's how an efficient, capitalist economy is supposed to work.
What is arguably most disconcerting about the incident is the political influence President Obama, Vice President Biden and Sen. Dick Durbin tried to wield. "Vote with your feet. Get the heck out of that bank," Sen. Durbin declared on the floor of the U.S. Senate last month.(See: Under Pressure: Big Banks Slammed by Obama, Durbin)
Having Washington dictate policy more than they already do is not what makes for an efficient, capitalist economy.