Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Bank of America backs down on debit card fee
From The Associated Press
By Candice Choi
Bank of America Corp. is scrapping its plan to charge a $5 monthly fee for debit card purchases after outraged customers threatened an exodus.
The about-face comes as customers across the country petitioned the bank and mobilized to close their accounts in favor of credit unions and community banks. The outcry prompted other major banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., to cancel trial tests of their own debit card fees.
Bank of America, the nation's second largest bank, said it reversed course after listening to customers. Anne Pace, a spokeswoman for Bank of America, declined to say whether there was a spike in account closures following the September announcement that it would start charging the fee early next year.
Higher fees have become a fact of life for bank customers in recent years. But this one touched a nerve because it hit so close to home; many Americans have come to rely on debit cards to manage essential expenses such as groceries and gas.
At the same time, there's still lingering resentment over the role that banks played in the 2008 financial meltdown and the ongoing home foreclosure crisis. That anger has come to surface in recent weeks with the Occupy Wall Street movement.