What Investors Need to Know About Bank of America's Debit-Card Fee Reversal

What's happening in the headlines can impact you as an investor. Here's what's going on right now, what you need to know, and what you can do.

The cold, hard facts
Finally giving in to continued consumer and peer-group pressure, U.S. banking giant Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) yesterday scrapped its plan to charge a $5-per-month fee for its debit-card holders.

And now for some context
The fee was designed to make up the revenue lost from a new law that slashed the fees banks can charge retailers when consumers swipe their cards. Other large banks, including JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) , Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) , SunTrust (NYSE: STI  ) , and Regions Financial (NYSE: RF  ) , had thought the fee such a good idea they also followed suit.

What none of them saw coming was the consumer outrage and media scrutiny that followed the fee announcements. Before Bank of America's reversal, all of the aforementioned banks had already caved into the intense pressure and dropped their fees or cancelled their test programs. Bank of America was the last holdout.

What you should do
It's fair to say that big banks are not the most popular kids on the block these days. These fees were a poor judgment call on the banks' part.

But with the new law limiting debit card fees still in place, and no obvious way to make up the lost revenue, bank must try to make up the profit somewhere.

As always, Foolish investors like you don't get caught up in the day-to-day gyrations of the market (banks were down yesterday, up today). You're in it for the long term. So if you're in any of these banks, as long as the fundamentals are sound, stay put. We may not always like banks, but they've been around in one form or another for thousands of years and aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Keep track of what's happening with the stocks mentioned here by adding them to My Watchlist, a free service of The Motley Fool that lets you easily keep up with everything on your investing radar.

Fool contributor and newshound John Grgurich loves his Reuters feed so much he wants to marry it, but he owns no shares of any of the companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a scintillating disclosure policy.


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