Just when we thought we had seen every imaginable form of stupidity out of Bank of America, they go ahead and stun us all over again. The latest shock is that starting next year, the repository of hundreds of billions in underreserved (apparently the SEC finally figured out what was obvious to Zero Hedge readers since October 2010) toxic Countrywide mortgages, instead of shoring up capital, will do the opposite and start charging anyone with a debit card $5 a month fee for said card usage. Needless to say, this is obviously a collusive attempt by all the big banks, who are so desperate to generate some revenue (with the 2s10s flatter than at any time in the past 2.5 years) they are willing to drive away millions of paying customers. The problem is that the bulk of depositor clients will simply walk away from Bank of America (which had $1,038 billion in deposits as of June 30), and any other institutions that piggy back on this (and from a game theory perspective, everyone has to do it, or nobody will do it), and instead pull cash out of any and all checking and time deposit account forms. As a result, the key buffer that big banks have had during the entire financial crisis, cash from deposits, is about to disappear. This comes at a time when every US bank is fighting tooth and nail against Basel III implementation which forces banks to have more not less tangible capital (read cash, up to and including deposit cash). Alas, doomed for failure such idiocy can only come out of the US banking system which should have long been insolvent and replaced, but instead the Fed's policy of intercontinental Moral Hazard continues to encourage such "survival of the anti-fittest" decisions with pride. It goes without saying that we urge any and all of our 5 million monthly readers to pull any funds they may have from Bank of America in retaliation for this insanity.
From Dow Jones:
Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the largest U.S. bank by assets, plans to charge customers a $5 monthly fee for making debit card purchases starting early next year, according to an internal memo sent to bank executives Thursday.
The fee will apply to customers with various checking accounts during any month they use their debit card to make a purchase. The fee will not apply to customers who do not use their debit card to make a purchase or who only use it to make ATM transactions.
Bank of America is trying to cushion revenue losses it expects to incur from new caps on the fees merchants pay when a customer uses a debit card at their stores. In June, the Federal Reserve Board finalized rules capping such fees at 24 cents per transaction, compared with a current average of 44 cents.
Bank of America has said it expects the caps, which take effect Oct. 1, to erase $2 billion in revenue annually. Industrywide, the caps, which apply to banks with $10 billion and more in assets, could wipe out $6.6 billion in annual revenue for banks, according to an August report from Javelin Strategy and Research.
"The economics of offering a debit card have changed with recent regulations," a spokeswoman for Bank of America said in a statement Thursday.
The fee will apply to various consumer checking accounts but will not apply to customers in certain premium accounts, the bank's memo said.
"This new fee allows us to continue to offer the convenience of a debit card with the full range of added features customers have come to expect," including fraud protection and monitoring, special savings programs and other services, the bank's memo said.
Other banks have introduced or are testing new fees in response to the debit fee caps, which stem from a provision known as the Durbin amendment in last year's Dodd-Frank financial regulation overhaul legislation.
Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), said it will charge a $3 fee for debit and ATM cards in several states starting in October if customers use the cards to make a purchase under a pilot program.
So, yes: if one is a preferred customer (read rich), they will be spared. 99% of the client base however won't be.
All joking aside, we give this retarded proposal about 2 months before it is buried in congressional hearings that make a mockery out of the executive who came up with it.
However, the take home message is that BAC is now willing to perform amputation in order to desperately raise capital. We are certain what little is left of the bank's shareholders will not fail to notice this...