Congressmen want debit card fees investigated
Oct 20, 2011
Five U.S. congressmen are asking the Justice Department to investigate new monthly debit-card fees that Bank of America Corp. and other major banks will soon charge.
The five Democrats, led by Vermont Rep. Peter Welch, sent a letter to the Justice Department asking for an investigation to determine if the banking industry violated antitrust laws by colluding to charge the fees, creating an unfair marketplace.
“Statements made by individual banks and their trade associations raise questions about whether some price increases that have occurred this year have actually been coordinated,” the letter reads. “This collective pricing activity is harmful to competition and raises serious legal questions.”
BofA two weeks ago announced it would charge $5 per month beginning in 2012 to many of its debit-card users. Citigroup and SunTrust Bank will charge a similar fee. Wells Fargo and Chase are charging fees in test markets.
The fees also have been a rallying point for both Wall Street protesters and many lawmakers, including President Obama, who said BofA was “mistreating” its customers by charging the fee.