Well, well, well! It worked. Nobody thought it would but it did. A report that came out today said that Bank of America may lose as much as 9% of their customers over that little $5 debt card fee. They were so shaken up by this that they threw that fee out. Not only Bank of America, but four other big banks as well.
Some reports say that it all began with a 22 year old nanny who started a petition on change.org. The petition gained more than 300,000 signatures which led to the exodus of people who weren’t going to pay these fees. You did it. By speaking with your wallet and your feet, you forced these banks to make a change.
But you did something even better: You showed them that they don’t have free reign to do what they want with your money. Good for you! Since America now knows how to enact these changes, I thought I would give us all a few ideas for a few other causes to take up.
Terrible Mutual Funds
If you have a 401(k) or 529 plan, you were most likely forced to pick mutual funds for that plan. They might be poorly managed and have large fees. These fund companies are giving you few choices because they can more easily control how much of your retirement money they get. How about a campaign to allow you to consult with a financial advisor and pick from a large array of investment products? It’s your money. Why can’t you do what you want with it?
Bring the Dollars Home
The amount of corporate money sitting in foreign countries is staggering. Before you get mad at these companies, understand that one of the reasons they do it is because the tax rates are lower. The United States’ corporate tax rate is the second highest in the world. If you could keep your business’ money in a place where you pay less taxes, you would probably do it too. America has corporate tax rates that are twice as high as some other countries.
Have a corporate tax holiday. Get that money to the United States where it can be spent on your own soil. Charge them a 20% tax rate for a one time transfer. You can figure out the rest later but get American money in America.
Yes, college is expensive and it would be nice if it was cheaper but there are a lot of forces at work that are difficult to change. How about we make incentives for people to enter certain degree programs? Colleges need to produce graduates that can make and design things, treat the sick, and do high level technology work. Don’t make it so easy to graduate with a communications degree and 50K in student debt. We have too many people graduating with degrees that are hard to monetize. Let’s make degrees better tied to specific jobs.
Again, my congratulations to all of you who switched your bank account. You got their attention. Now, maybe it’s time we all move on to the next cause! What are your ideas for our next challenge?
Tom Drake writes for Financial Highway and MapleMoney. Whenever he’s not working on his online endeavors, he’s either doing his “real job” as a financial analyst or spending time with his two boys.