Bank of America facing backlash after fee increase on existing customers

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Bank of America is facing some big backlash after a recent increase in banking fees, multiple news outlets are reporting.

Earlier this month, Bank of America switched its customers who have an eBanking account into one that requires them to pay a $12 monthly fee if they do not have either a monthly direct deposit of $250 or more or a minimum daily balance of $1,500, U.S.A. Today reports. Previously, the bank’s eBanking account was free for customers who opted out of paper statements and didn’t use in-person bank teller services.

Though the bank stopped offering its basic eBanking services to new customers in 2013, customers who had opened their electronic accounts prior to that date were able to maintain their fee-free services so long as they continued to meet the no paper statement and no in-person bank teller service requirements.

Many customers and other advocates argue the recent fee increase, which may seem manageable to some, is essentially impossible for low income individuals and families who can’t meet the account’s requirements to begin with.

Bank of America’s increase comes at a time when Vanity Fair reports the company will receive nearly $3.5 billion in tax cuts thanks to the GOP tax bill which was passed in December 2017. The expected influx of money into the company’s bottom line still did not stop them from proceeding with the additional charges, though.

Reaction to the bank’s fee increase on existing customers was swift, and the company’s move was met with much criticism. Social media was abuzz with complaints following the company’s decision, and the internet drew outrage from both customers and non-costumers alike.

Some current Bank of America customers have taken their outrage to Change.org, where they’ve started a petition to urge the bank to rethink their new fee increase and return their eBanking accounts to the fee-free service it was before. As of this writing, the petition had reached well over half the number of signatures needed to get to its 150,000-signature goal.

Bank of America, based in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the United States’ largest banks by deposit. The investment bank KBW recently told the Huffington Post that Bank of America is expected to see an increase of nearly 17.8 percent in earnings in the year 2018, once the GOP tax cuts are factored in. That’s 4.8 percent higher than the average 13 percent earnings increase other banks will see.

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