Thursday, October 20, 2011 10:22 am, | News
From: Democratic Member Press Releases
Sent: Monday, October 17, 2011 11:28 AM
To: Hollis, Mark
Subject: REP. JEFF CLEMENS FILES HB375 TO BAN BANKS FROM CHARGING DEBIT CARD FEES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2011
CONTACT: Rep. Jeff Clemens
REP. JEFF CLEMENS FILES HB375
TO BAN BANKS FROM CHARGING DEBIT CARD FEES
— In support of the widespread consumer outrage, Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, has filed legislation that would ban banks from charging fees for the simple use of debit cards.
“The banks sold us all on the idea of a cashless society, and now that we’ve bought into their promise of free, easy access to our own money, they want to charge us for it,” Clemens said. “Anyone with a sense of decency should be outraged.”
House Bill 375, filed today, makes it unlawful “to charge or impose a dormancy fee, and inactivity fee or charge, or a service fee with respect to the use or holding of a debit card by a consumer.”
Representative Clemens sponsored the legislation in response to the outrage that many Floridians have expressed over a banking industry that was bailed out by taxpayers, continues to rake in huge profits and now wants to charge consumers for a service the banks have touted as free for years.
“Seeking to please shareholders and continue to pay exorbitant salaries, extremely profitable banks have taken to blaming federal legislation that limits the amount they can charge for so-called `swipe fees’ to retailers,” said Representative Clemens. “But no one is buying the weak explanation.
“No one is weeping for an industry that makes billions in profits and in some cases, doesn’t pay taxes,” Clemens added.
Wells Fargo and Bank of America were among the first banks to announce monthly fees for the usage of debit cards.
Bank of America has paid no federal income tax for the past two years, claiming losses in its federal filings. Meanwhile, they have pledged to eliminate 30,000 jobs over the next few years, adding to our country’s unemployment woes. Wells Fargo posted a $3.8 billion profit in the first quarter of 2011, and a $3.73 billion profit in the second quarter.
“The greed of these institutions knows no bounds,” Clemens said. “As soon as you try to end one deceptive or immoral practice, they come up with two more.”
While banking regulations typically fall under federal oversight, Representative Clemens cited as grounds for HB 375 a recent U.S. Supreme Court case (Cuomo v. Clearing House Association) that granted the New York Attorney General oversight over practices of certain federally chartered financial institutions.
Representative Clemens has also started a Facebook page entitled G.R.E.E.D. (Get Rid of Excessive Expenses for Debitcards) that he hopes will serve as a sort of rallying point for those who are outraged and a clearinghouse for banking horror stories.
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