Banks reportedly are more than ready for the financial reform bill Congress has just passed, and consumers will be making up for fees that banks will no longer be able to collect.
Though analysts estimate that the changes required by the new legislation could cut profits for the banking industry by as much as 11 percent, Wall Street will compensate by finding ways to take advantage of the new regulations, The New York Times reports.
"If you're a restaurant and you can't charge for the soda, you're going to charge more for the burger … over time, it will all be repriced into the business,” said JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon.
“We’ve been gearing up for this like a merger,” he said, pointing out that new restrictions (on credit and debit card fees and derivative products) could cost JPM at least several hundred million dollars annually, cash that the bank would have to make up from other sources.
Which means that free checking, free toasters and other advantages banks have become accustomed to offering — and consumers have become accustomed to receiving — will most likely fade away.
Some banks that anticipated passage of the financial overhaul legislation have already begun charging customers for services that used to be free. Wells Fargo, for example, now charges a monthly maintenance fee for its most basic accounts.
“The rule of thumb is that it costs a bank between $150 and $350 a year” to maintain a checking account, Aaron Fine, a partner at Oliver Wyman, a financial consultancy, told the Times. If banks cannot recoup that money, he added, they may be forced to jettison unprofitable customers.
Meanwhile, Bank of America will pay a mighty price for the overhaul, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The bill’s provisions will cost BofA about $5 billion in revenue by the end of next year, and reduce the inherent value of the bank's credit-and-debit card unit, which is accounted for in a complex asset known as goodwill, by between $7 billion and $10 billion in the coming third quarter.
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