Did Occupiers Just Beat Bank of America?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 1 2011 5:52 PM

Did Occupiers Just Beat Bank of America?

In four days, Bank of America was all set to face protests against its proposed $5 per month debit card fees -- a so-called "Bank Transfer Day." Today, the bank told the protesters they could find something else to do.

We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee. Our customers' voices are most important to us. As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plans to do so.
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Is this the first popular victory for Occupy Wall Street? The first politician who hinted as much was (get ready for a shock) Sen. Bernie Sanders, who went to the floor of the Senate to congratulate the "American people" for beating the bank.

Republicans have been quieter. No surprise there.  Up to now, they'd been citing the debit fee as proof that Democratic regulatory lust was hurting the country. "We said all along the cost and burdens associated with these bills are so drastic they are going to end up costing the consumer," said Rep. Eric Cantor in an October 11 briefing with reporters. "That’s what happens when you do this. And that is what happens to people's credit card interest rates, that is what happens to now a debit fee that goes up because Washington has made matters worse and people are upset about it."

The existence of the free, said Republicans, proved them right. The end of the fee, say Occupiers and their allies, proves that BoA needlessly fueled a "move your money" concept -- one that dates from 2009 -- to pull cash out of banks and put them in community banks. Here, for example, is video from two weeks ago of a priest announcing the end of his church's BoA relationship.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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