Washington, DC, October 14, 2011 – In response to the spate of new “Durbin Fees” hitting the debit cards and checking accounts of so many Americans, CEI is offering people the chance to give something back to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.): $5 “Durbin Dollars” (PDF )
The Durbin Dollar is printed with the assigned value of $5, representing the monthly "Durbin Fee" many banks are now charging to recoup revenues lost through the price controls in the Durbin Amendment. Under this provision in the Dodd-Frank financial regulation overhaul, the Federal Reserve caps the interchange fees that both banks and credit unions can charge retailers at about 21 to 26 cents per transaction. These price controls are leading many financial institutions to stop offering free checking and no-fee debit cards, in order to recoup a massive revenue loss.
"With the Durbin Dollars, we can send a pointed message to politicians like Sen. Durbin and retailers who lobbied for these price controls that Americans know who is to blame for their new financial fees. This Dodd-Frank legislation that supposedly helps the 'little guy' has, in reality, enriched big retailers at the expense of consumers," said John Berlau , director of CEI's Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs.
"Just as bad money drives out good money, our Durbin Dollars show that bad policies drive out good products, such as free debit cards and free checking," said Sam Kazman , CEI General Counsel.
The Durbin Dollars will be distributed by e-mail and are available for download . People can send these notes to 'bill' Sen. Durbin and in support of a new bipartisan effort to repeal the Durbin price controls  -- a repeal bill sponsored by Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Bill Owens (D-N.Y), "The Consumer Debit Card Protection Act" HR 3156.