Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The List of Dick Durbin's Donors Dictates Which Big Banks Get Berated

So. About Dick Durbin's rant about BoA charging $5 a month for customers using a debit card...

Holding up a plastic debit card on the Senate floor this afternoon, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., had some advice for Bank of America customers angry about the new $5 monthly fee: leave.

“Bank of America customers, vote with your feet, get the heck out of that bank,” Durbin said on the Senate floor. “Find yourself a bank or credit union that won’t gouge you for $5 a month and still will give you a debit card that you can use every single day. What Bank of America has done is an outrage.”

Via Protein Wisdom, I notice that Citi announced changes to its fees today:

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The fees keep coming. Citi is the latest big bank to slap customers with a round of fee hikes. This time, on its checking accounts.

Starting in December, customers who hold its mid-level Citibank Account will be charged $20 a month if they fail to maintain a minimum balance of $15,000 in their combined accounts. Previously, account holders had to carry a minimum balance of $6,000.

At the same time, customers who have the bank's EZ Checking account will start being charged $15 a month if they don't carry a minimum balance of $6,000.


Citibank said it chose not to charge a debit card fee because its customers did not want it. "There's a reason why we structured it this way," said Catherine Pulley, spokeswoman for Citi.

Now, unlike Bank of America, Citi is not raising fees directly for debit card use. But they are raising fees, and the timing is undoubtedly related to the Durbin Amendment going into effect. In some ways you might say they are trying to obscure the connection.

Which is perhaps unsurprising. Citigroup Inc is the third largest contributor to Dick Durbin's campaign committee.

Also not surprising will be Dick Durbin's presumed silence about Citi as compared to his ravings about Bank of America . . . who is number 58 on the list of Dick Durbin donors.

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