Obama: Banks Don't Have 'Inherent Right' to 'Certain Amount of Profit'

By Susan Jones | October 4, 2011 | 11:43am EDT

President Barack Obama laughs as he heads to Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, on his way to Dallas and St. Louis. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(CNSNews.com) - President Obama suggested on Monday that the nation's banks should "take a little bit less of a profit" rather than raise fees on customers.

In an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Obama was asked if the government can stop banks from imposing a new debit card fee on their customers.

"Well, you can stop it because ... if you say to the banks, 'You don't have some inherent right just to -- you know, get a certain amount of profit if your customers are being mistreated. That you have to treat them fairly and transparently.' And -- and my hope is is that you're going to see a bunch of the banks, who say to themselves, 'You know what? This is actually not good business practice.'

"Banks can make money," Obama said. "They can succeed the old-fashioned way, by earning it -- by lending to small businesses, by lending to consumers. By making sure that-- you know, we are building the economy together."

Obama advocated "protections" (regulations) that Republicans want to roll back. However, as a direct result of those regulations, the nation's major banks are considering a plan to charge customers a $5 monthly service fee for debit card transactions. A provision in the Dodd-Frank Act cut the amount banks could charge merchants for debit card swipes, so the banks may shift the burden onto consumers.

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"Well, what the banks are saying is -- that rather than take a little bit less of a profit, rather than paying multimillion dollar bonuses, let's treat our customers right." And this is exactly why we need this Consumer Finance Protection Bureau that we set up that is ready to go. And what we need is a confirmation of the person I've appointed, Rich Cordray, treasurer of Ohio. Back in Ohio, Republicans and Democrats both think he's terrific and he's fair. But this is exactly why we need somebody who's sole job it is to prevent this kind of stuff from happening."

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