Another day, another fight between Obama and business leaders.
The latest point of conflict: The Bank of America decision to charge $5/month to active debit card holders.
“This is exactly why we need this Consumer Finance Protection Bureau that we set up that is ready to go … This is exactly why we need somebody whose sole job it is to prevent this kind of stuff from happening. … You can stop it because if you say to the banks, ‘You don’t have some inherent right just to – you know, get a certain amount of profit. If your customers – are being mistreated. That you have to treat them fairly and transparently.”
That caused the American Bankers Association to flip out, and complain that these fees are the inevitable result of regulations, etc.
The big problem with Obama’s comments is that they imply that the CFPB will just go around telling banks what to charge for what services, which is different than demanding, say, clarity and big print contracts and transparency.
And in fact, fees are a good thing. We want banks to straight up charge for services, rather than squeeze customers through underhanded ways, so Obama really should embrace this kind of thing, and encourage banks to give up their tricky overdraft fees, etc., and do more stuff like this.