So I Guess Financial Reform ISN'T Costing Consumers?

When news came about Bank of America beginning to charge a $5 monthly fee for people to use their own money by the means of use of an ATM card, we at TPV, and people across the Interwebs and the offline world were outraged. But something happened this time. Being outraged doesn't solve any problems - but turning that outrage to action does. That's what people did. People took action and started to move their money.

And look what we have here. Bank of America and all its partners in sucking the American consumer dry are suddenly changing tune. Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo have all folded in the face of consumers voting with their feet and taking their money elsewhere (like to credit unions and community banks) and canceled their planned monthly fee on debit cards. How do I know consumer pressure is the reason for the big banks backing off? Other than the fact that banks are canceling a fee that was supposed to net them billions, you can also hear it from the horse's mouth:
Anne Pace, a spokeswoman for Bank of America, declined to say whether Bank of America's announcement of the new debit card fee had led to a spike in account closures. She said the decision to scrap the fee was based partly on a "changing competitive marketplace."

"Over the past couple of weeks, customer sentiment changed," she said.
Read: "our customers were piping mad and they were either moving or telling us they would move their money en masse. We had no choice."

But here's something you won't hear from our venerable media. Remember the justification BofA and the other behemoths were spoon-feeding us for these outrageous charges? Oh, that's right. President Obama's Wall Street reform law. It was just taking the air out of the poor banks and they had to charge people to use their own money in order to make up for all that horrible regulations (the absence of which gave us the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, but hey, look over there!). When the fees were being discussed, the media never failed to mention how it's the big bad government regulations that were responsible for this predicament for consumers, did they? But will they ask the banking executives how they can just cancel the fee so easily if it was so so necessary because of the regulatory reform? I wouldn't hold your breath.

And of course, it weren't just the bankers that were taking it out on the President when the debit card fees came out. Republican elected leading lights and conservative publications have consistently blamed Wall Street reform for the banks scouring for every possible way to milk their customers to protect their fat bottom lines. Where is their accountability moment? Now that all the big banks have backed down in the face of consumer pressure, the sky hasn't fallen, and Dodd-Frank is still the law of the land, where is the media taking the banks and their purchased mouthpieces in the Republican party to task?

But Bank of America is not giving up on milking their customers with fees anyway, of course. As the Times reports:
Bank of America still plans to roll out a new menu of checking accounts with fees ranging from $6 a month to $25 a month sometime next year. The options are being tested in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts. Pace said the pilot program is seeing "good results."
Should you still move your money? You betcha. Here's how:
At a very basic level, Wall Street understands only one language: that of money. And given the tools available to the average consumer these days, there is no reason for us to be banking with one of the big banks. At least not in terms of having our accounts there.