Bank of America Weighs New Fees (Misc News: March 1, 2012)
Bank of America is road-testing yet another fee, despite the massive backlash and customer revolt over a proposed debit card fee late last year.
According to the Wall Street Journal, BofA could soon require many users to pay a fee for basic checking accounts unless they agree to bank online, buy certain products or maintain certain balances.
Right now the bank is piloting programs in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts that charge between $6 and $9 a month for a BofA "Essentials" account. Other account options being tested in those states carry monthly charges of ranging between $9 and $25, but give customers ways to avoid the fees by maintaining minimum balances, using a credit card or taking a mortgage with Bank of America.
The article reports that the new fees come at a time when BofA’s 2011 revenue dropped by $26.2 billion, or 22 percent since 2009.
According to industry experts this is all the more reason for credit unions and other financial institutions to consider any pricing moves with great caution, and to highlight the differences in fee structures.
Mike Moebs of Moebs $ervices Inc., a bank and credit union consultant in a Lake Bluff, Ill., told the Journal that if BofA implements these fees nationally, it will likely hit a broader portion of the banks customer base than the proposed debit card fees.
"They will keep everybody they are making money with and try to shed everybody else," he said.
BofA has not indicated when it plans to roll out the fees nationwide, and declined to comment for the article.