retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

With enemies like these…well, the banks sometimes are the gift that just keeps giving. I’ve written a number of columns recently about the on-going battle between banks and retailers over the transaction fees charged on credit and debit purchases I remain hopeful that retailers can rally consumers to their side with education.

Let’s change that. Just get your shoppers to watch the April 3rd edition of 60 Minutes. The task is done.

In my area, 60 Minutes was preceded by an ad from the bank coalition decrying retailers for wanting to gouge consumers for $12 billion in swipe fees. Remember, these are the same fees the banks have been collecting in secret for years. They don’t want the fees to go away; they just want to keep them.

But then the universe made me feel better.

The opening segment on 60 Minutes was about people fighting their banks in court over delinquent mortgages. It seemed like a simple story until we met one of these people, a woman who worked for a time on forgery cases.

The woman laid out in stunning detail how her bank used forged documents in court against her. 60 Minutes, doing what it does best, then took us into incredibly organized world of document forging for the banks. At one point we met a group of people who were all paid to sign documents as “Linda Green.” According to the document bearing her name, Ms. Green was a bank vice president at countless banks - all at the same time. Somehow the banks and their association were all unavailable to comment.

The war over transaction fees won’t be won easily. But retailers should watch the 60 Minutes episode to remind themselves that while banks are truly necessary, there are countless reasons why many customers don’t hold them in high regard. And that means the general population might well understand and side with retail in this on-going battle.

The 60 Minutes piece can be seen by clicking here.

Watch it. It’s an Eye-Opener.
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