BofA cancels planned monthly debit fee

via LAT:

Norma Garcia, a senior attorney for Consumers Union] said that in her 19 years on the job, shed never previously seen banks make such a shift unless required to do so by Congress or regulators.

Normally it’s just not considered cool in America to take a stand against some commercial or political phenomenon, even when it’s one that everybody knows is unjust.  The attitude is that you’re supposed to just gripe and deal with it. Especially when the responsible entity is very large and powerful, like Bank of America.  If you’re really that indignant, you can look for a competitor who’s nice enough to offer a better deal. But that’s not all that we the consumers should do.

Consumers should demand better treatment.  When Bank of America Chief Executive Brian T. Moynihan says that customers and shareholders should understand the bank has a “right to make a profit,” customers and shareholders should let him know where he can stick his right to make a profit–they have a right to maximize their utility.

And yes, Bank of America will try to make the profit up with some other weaselly fee or charge or interest rate.  I’m not naive about that.  The point is that they only get away with it if their customers let them.  This will require higher quality and better publicized consumer information so that consumers know what not to tolerate in the first place.  It also requires consumers who care not just about what happens to them but about what happens to the guy right next to them who the bank decides to screw instead.

None of this in any way undermines the market system. Huge companies get their way plenty enough as it is. And rest assured that, unless there’s a shift in consumer culture, businesses will go right back to their old ways in the minute that Occupy Wall Street comes to an end. What we need is a shift in how the market surplus is distributed. We should simply demand that some of the surplus which the producer currently takes for granted is transferred to the consumer–permanently.

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