business news in context, analysis with attitude

Lots of reaction to the assessment of debit card usage fees that was the subject of an MNB story last week.

One MNB user wrote:

At least at this point the customer can see what they are paying and can choose to go to a competing bank if they want to instead of having the fees hidden…I don’t think these debit fees are going to stick but we shall see…good opportunity for smaller banks to take market share.

MNB user Christine Myres wrote:

I am so disgusted by this whole thing I could barf ... Let me get this straight: a bill that was intended to alleviate some of the financial burden of those of us who work for a living has been hijacked by the banks, so that instead of the business paying a ridiculous amount to allow me to use my debit card, I am the one now financially penalized for using my debit card.  What world do these banks live in?

I do not bank with any of the ‘big’ banks for a reason, I am waiting to see what my bank’s response will be before I cut the #$%^&* thing up and go back to cash.

MNB user Bill Smillie wrote:

In addition to my day job, I own a retail grocery store and as I have told my Senators from Missouri, Credit/Debit fees are my 5th largest cost on my P&L Statement.  I have no say in the application of these fees and if I do not like it, I can cancel my agreement with Visa/MC and just close my store as I will not have any customers, because many(53%) use credit/debit to pay for groceries.   Many transactions like gum, cigarettes, pop, all cost me money as my profit goes to pay debit interchange fees.  We have created a monster in V/MC/AE and can’t live without them.  Frank/Durbin was well intended, but the Federal Reserve caved in and didn’t even follow their own recommendation for setting fees and set the limit at 24 cents instead of 12 cents.  Go figure.

MNB user Steve Mowcomber wrote:

Two words can resolve that issue for most banking customers – CREDIT UNION.   It’s time to take back the revenues from the coast to coast behemoths and go local.  The banks might be missing more than $6B in swipe fees if they alienate all their customers who have local options that don’t charge, and won’t charge and still offer all the same banking and loan options/services that a BofA can “attempt” to provide.

From another MNB user:

Seriously disgusting. You want to earn back your $6 billion? It’s a simple  

Treat people fairly (stop gauging customers in ways that make them unwilling to do business with you).

Provide great service.

Offer great (or at least competitive) products.
Hey, there’s a name for that: credit unions (i.e., co-ops) and I hope Bank of America’s customers (et al) take a good look at their alternative.
On a related note, I wonder which provides greater economic stimulus: $6 billion in the hands of consumers or $6 billion in the hands of big banks?

Good question.

MNB user Jerry Jewett wrote:

When are the people in the USA  going to wake up and realize they are getting taken advantage of Big Time.

You put your money in their bank & you earn interest from 0% to .0075% The least amt. they loan that out for is about .0375 to 15 to 27% on credit card balances.

Then they pay their CEO & other top Executives 2 to 5 million a year plus perks and stock options that amt. to as much as 20 million.

Then when they quit or get fired  they get another 25 to 200 million in a severance package.

In the movie Wall Street Michael Douglas said Greed is good. I thought the movie was trying to show greed as being corrupt. The way the big banks are acting today they took the speech as the way to succeed.

Another MNB user wrote:

Consumers should return to making all payments with cash or check to avoid paying monthly debit fees.  Then we'll see if banks begin to agree that these manual processes are more expensive than the electronic payments.

MNB user Blake Steen wrote:

REGULATION DOES NOT WORK.  The “evil” corporations will always find a way to stick it to us.  When Congress figures that out we will be in much better shape.  By the way to you Libs out there that is 6.6 billion that BOA is not paying taxes on.  The consumer never noticed the cost to them on the swipe (although I know they were feeling it in the cost of goods) now it is effecting them directly.  I’m sure Dick Durbin can afford the $5.00 fee he created.

And MNB user Mike Franklin wrote:

No noticeable change in prices from retailers after reduced card fees to retailers and now banks are making up the lost revenue through increased card usage fees…like I said before…this issue was not about the consumer…this was about businesses trying to determine who will take the money from consumers.

Let’s give the retailers a little break here. After all, the new financial regulations have just gone into effect.

But I do agree with you - I will be disappointed if we don’t see some of the retailers that were most active in trying to get swipe fees rolled back make some noise about how it is affecting prices.

Regarding my review on Friday of Moneyball, MNB user Steven Ritchey wrote:

Moneyball, as I understand it, reduces the game to statistics.  Statistics don’t always tell me the intangibles about a player, if he’s willing to be on the mound with the game on the line, if he’s willing to be at the plate with 2 out at the bottom of the ninth with his team needing a  hit to keep the  game going.  I can see melding the two systems, put together Billy Beane’s Moneyball theories, and conventional wisdom of employing scouts to put eyes on potential players.  Sometimes there’s a reason why conventional wisdom is around, sometimes it usually works.

I’m a big believer in intangibles. To me, what Moneyball really is about is the willingness to challenge conventional wisdom, to ask the question that nobody else is willing to ask, and to embrace answers that others would see as antithetical to conventional wisdom. It also is about not always playing the same game as the competition ... especially better funded competition. To compete in such circumstances, you ave to be willing to try different, even unpopular angles ... and to me, that is the real lesson of Moneyball ... and it has less to do with statistics vs. intangibles, or even the game of baseball.
KC's View: