NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- For a movement without an agenda, Occupy Wall Street is off to a pretty good start--scaring JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC) and SunTrust Banks (STI) away from their plans to charge customers who use their debit cards to make purchases.
None of these banks cited Occupy Wall Street in explaining their reversal, and because Occupy Wall Street does not speak with one voice, it cannot be said to have demanded these banks reverse course on their planned fees.
Still, it does not take a genius to figure out that charging fees to consumers for their use of debit cards is exactly the kind of thing nearly all participants in Occupy Wall Street would be likely to oppose. What the movement is doing, as many commentators have pointed out recently, is changing the national conversation, much as the Tea Party did before dealing Democrats a resounding defeat in the Congressional mid-term elections.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has been a prominent target of the protestors (see video above). Dimon, a defiant critic of many proposed financial services industry reforms, has been hinting at the fee increase ever since his famous statement in the wake of the passage of Dodd Frank financial reform legislation: "If you're a restaurant and you can't charge for the soda, you're going to charge more for the burger."Still, it was Bank of America (BAC) was out in front in announcing the new debt fee, drawing heaps of scorn upon itself, as TheStreet found out in a recent poll. Bank of America is now reported to be reconsidering aspects of its fee program, according to The Wall Street Journal. Bank spokespeople did not return an email message seeking to confirm the report. -- Written by Dan Freed in New York.
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