America

Bank Of America Is 'Sticking It' To Customers, Senator Says

A customer uses a Bank of America ATM in Los Angeles. The bank plans to start charging a $5 monthly fee for customers who use their debit card for purchases starting early in 2012. ATM transactions would still be free. i i

A customer uses a Bank of America ATM in Los Angeles. The bank plans to start charging a $5 monthly fee for customers who use their debit card for purchases starting early in 2012. ATM transactions would still be free. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
A customer uses a Bank of America ATM in Los Angeles. The bank plans to start charging a $5 monthly fee for customers who use their debit card for purchases starting early in 2012. ATM transactions would still be free.

A customer uses a Bank of America ATM in Los Angeles. The bank plans to start charging a $5 monthly fee for customers who use their debit card for purchases starting early in 2012. ATM transactions would still be free.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

There's no doubt how the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate feels about Bank of America's plan to charge most of its debit card users $5 a month if they use the cards to make purchases. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has issued a statement that reads, in part:

"It seems that old habits die hard for Bank of America. After years of raking in excess profits off an unfair and anti-competitive interchange system, Bank of America is trying to find new ways to pad their profits by sticking it to its customers. It's overt, unfair and I hope their customers have the final say."

On CNN this hour, though, billionaire Warren Buffett — who this year invested $5 billion in BofA — said that the bank, like others, will be charging fees "of one sort or another" and that consumers surely know that "if somebody offers a better deal," they can certainly go to another bank or financial institution to get a debit card. "It's just like you can change channels on a television," Buffett added.

While BofA and other banks that are experimenting with debit card fees say they're doing so because new regulations are limiting how much they can charge merchants for transactions, Durbin said the fees have been excessive and needed to be reduced.

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