Ill. senator calls on banks to adopt fee disclosure form

Bank of America decided not to charge the monthly $5 debit card fee.
Bank of America decided not to charge the monthly $5 debit card fee.

(KFVS/AP) - Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is calling on banks to adopt a fee disclosure form. This comes after Bank of America and other banking institutions announced they are backing down from charging a $5 monthly fee for debit card purchases.

Thursday, Durbin called on the nation's financial institutions to voluntarily adopt a bank account fee disclosure form designed to make checking account terms and fees transparent and easy for consumers to understand, according to his office.

"Transparency and competition are the two pillars of a strong free market economy.  Those are the rules that Main Street American businesses live by, but for years, big banks have tried to play by a different set of rules," Durbin said. "We saw this week that the consumers of America have had enough. Today we're calling all of the nation's financial institutions to adopt a one-page, easy-to-read model disclosure listing the fees and key terms for their checking accounts. Giving consumers information clear, up front and accurate information about the fees that they will be charged will allow consumers to shop around and make sound financial decisions."

As reported earlier in the week, Bank of America Corp. is scrapping its plan to charge a $5 monthly fee for debit card purchases after outraged customers threatened an exodus.

The about-face comes as customers across the country petitioned the bank and mobilized to close their accounts in favor of credit unions and community banks. The outcry prompted other major banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., to cancel trial tests of their own debit card fees.

Bank of America, the nation's second largest bank, said it reversed course after listening to customers.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.