Reason No. 58 for #OWS: Political Corruption Is Responsible for $3 ATM Fees

May 22, 2012

The following quote will suffice.

In 2002, Iowa passed a law mandating that banks establishing ATMs couldn’t charge fees. The banking lobby fought back. The Federal banking regulator John Hawke, who was appointed to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency by Bill Clinton in 1998, blocked that law from taking effect by using a doctrine known as “preemption” whereby national regulations could invalidate state consumer protection laws. In a textbook case of the Washington revolving door, Hawke then left the OCC, where he was charged with overseeing banks, to return to his old job — representing big banks in a lucrative practice at the well-connected law firm Arnold and Porter.

But the Federal route to capping or regulating these fees was still open. In 2010, after the financial system collapsed, several Senators actually proposed a bill to cap ATM fees at 50 cents. This was again blocked by bank-friendly Senators, who did not even let it get a vote in the Senate.


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