Happy Durbin Day

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One year ago today, Dick Durbin’s amendment added to the damage Dodd-Frank is doing. Now consumers are to be hit even harder.

On Oct. 1, 2011, one year ago today, Dodd-Frank’s Durbin Amendment price controls went into effect, causing consumers to lose free checking and be soaked with other bank fees so that the country’s wealthiest retail chains could become even richer. On this anniversary, Americans are bequeathed with the gifts of even higher checking and ATM fees.

Now if these same retailers have their way — and a similar price control scheme is pushed through for credit cards as well as debit cards — consumers could also be hit with annual fees on their credit card and fewer credit card rewards as well.

At the behest of lobbying by some of the nation’s biggest retail chains — including Walmart, Home Depot, 7-Eleven, and Walgreens — banks and credit unions were allowed to charge retailers no more than 21-26 cents per debit card transaction. This represents an ongoing $8 billion annual transfer from banks’ to retailers’ coffers, but new data confirm that consumers, community banks, and credit unions are the ones who suffer the most.

Around this time last year, Bank of America caused a furor when it announced a $5 per-month debit card fee to cover the lost revenue from the near halving of fees that banks had charged retailers. After an outcry from consumers — as well as hypocritical politicians, such as amendment namesake and sponsor Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who were eager to find a party onto which to shift blame — BofA and other banks dropped this specific fee.

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