Thank 'Occupy Wall Street' for Banks Backing Off Debit Card Fees

"Occupy" movement voices the concerns of many frustrated with big banks.


I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that Chase, Wells Fargo, SunTrust and other banks were caving in on the debit card fees. Even Bank of America, who was planning to charge a $5 monthly fee, appears to be backing off as well.

How did this happen?

Why did this happen?

I say, the victory, at least in part, goes to "Occupy Wall Street."

[Check out political cartoons about "Occupy Wall Street."]

I have a confession to make. I didn't think that protesting, raising your voices alone, no matter how large a movement you have and no matter how large the group that is protesting would be enough.

Much like the Tea Party, I felt that the "Occupy" movement would only be effective if they put forth a political candidate, who could put forth a piece of legislation that our government could vote on and pass into law.

I was wrong.

Now I said the victory goes to Occupy Wall Street "in part." The consumers are doing a victory lap—and the consumers also deserve the credit—for wielding their power. But I believe most consumers would not have had the guts to walk into their big bad banks imposing these higher fees and threaten to take their business elsewhere. Those consumers that closed their accounts, those consumers that fled to the much smaller credit unions—I do not believe this would have happened without the Occupy Wall Street movement.

[Debate Club: Is Occupy Wall Street the Next Tea Party?]

Why? Same reason most of us won't be the first to get onto a dance floor unless others are out there before us; we're afraid.

Oh I know that the "Occupy" protesters didn't specifically demand that big banks abandon those debit card fees, but isn't this the type of greed they're angry about? Occupy Wall Street showed Americans they aren't alone in being mad as hell; and Occupy Wall Street shows there are others out there that aren't going to take it anymore. Others out there that are mad at the banks, the greed. Others out there that could, and did, take their business elsewhere.

Now I'm not so unrealistic to believe the banks won't try to hide/bury fees in the future to make up for the funds they would've received with these debit card fees, but I know that American consumerism can win over the bank's greed.

[Read Rick Newman: Banks Ax One Fee--But Watch Out for Others.]

Occupy Wall Street has been criticized for not having an agenda or a leader; but what they're doing is showing their fellow Americans what power is about. There is power in a voice (remember the tongue is mightier than the sword, hmm?), there is power in a protest, there is power in your consumerism.

One of the most wonderful things about this country in my opinion is our First Amendment. It sets us apart from any other nation in the world. And the Occupy Wall Street movement is showing the true power in those words.

  • See political cartoons on Occupy Wall Street.
  • Read a timeline of the Occupy Wall Street protests.
  • Read about 7 groups with reason to protest.