Obama blasts Bank of America debit card fee

October 3, 2011

President Obama slammed Bank of America’s $5 debit card card fee in an interview with ABCnews.com and Yahoo on Monday, calling the charge “not good business practice.”

“You don’t have some inherent right just to, you know, get a certain amount of profit, if your customers are being mistreated,” he said. Later, he added, “this is exactly the sort of stuff that folks are frustrated by.”

Obama is the latest of a chorus of critics to take aim at the new fee, which will be assessed monthly on customers who use their debit card to make purchases starting next year. Bank of America has said that new government regulations — most notably a cap on the amount banks can charge retailers each time a debit card is swiped — have eaten into their profit margins. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), chief architect of the so-called “swipe fee” legislation, on Monday called the fee “an outrage.”

Obama also urged lawmakers to confirm Richard Cordray, his nominee to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, citing the need to prevent onerous fees in the future. The Senate banking committee is slated to vote on the position Thursday.

Ylan Q. Mui is a financial reporter at The Washington Post covering the Federal Reserve and the economy.
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