Bigger Fish to Fry

Having represented the banking industry for 21 years, I have often witnessed “consumer” legislation come to the forefront. Many times I have wondered who these self-proclaimed consumer advocates are, and what do they really know about consumers? I am a consumer, and rarely do these advocates benefit me.

Hence my surprise by the recent release of an independent survey underwritten by the American Bankers Association (ABA). The survey was to determine the amount of fees paid by consumers for checking accounts and related services, such as ATM transaction fees. According to the findings, consumers are very good shoppers! A full 71 percent of respondents indicate that they pay no fees for these services. Another 11 percent pay $3 or less per month, and only 7 percent surveyed pay $10 or more per month.

No doubt consumer advocates will claim that this report is biased, since it was commissioned by the ABA. But look at it this way: Had the survey response been detrimental to the banking industry, likely ABA would not have released it. More than one survey has been kept under wraps when the underwriter did not like the results. Therefore, because ABA had the option of simply not publishing the survey, I believe these results to be accurate.

Let’s get to the real question. Why do consumer advocates focus so much attention on banks’ ATM fees, overdraft charges and monthly checking account fees? If 82 percent of consumers pay $3 or less per month, and only 7 percent pay $10 or more, don’t consumer groups have bigger fish to fry?

All businesses are being choked by the ridiculous amount of government overregulation. It is past time for the federal government to release its chokehold on U.S. economic interests. The above is but one example of a myth that has now, at last, been debunked.

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