The Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking into whether or not banks violated federal anti-trust laws by coordinating their plans to charge customers debit card fees, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
After hearing major opposition from customers in October, Bank of America dropped their plan to charge for the use of debit cards. JP Morgan and Wells Fargo scrapped their plans to do the same.
But the controversy isn’t over, it may have only just started.
On October 13th, Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to look into see if banks were coordinating their debit fees:
“It appears that banks are seeking to justify fee increases after Congress and the Federal Reserve Board recently limited banks’ ability to collude with networks to set debit interchange fees,” Welch and his colleagues wrote. “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.”
Yesterday, Congressman Welch posted on his website that the DOJ responded, and they’re on board. That means they’ll be looking into communication from financial trade associations and banks to see if they were talking about raising their fees together.
Here’s part of what the DOJ said in their letter to Congressman Welch:
“The Department of Justice is reviewing the statements and actions by banks and their trade associations regarding possible increases in consumer fees for using debit cards. Please be assured that if it finds that individuals, banks, or other parties may have violated antitrust laws, the Department will take appropriate action.”