Bank of America CEO Bryan Moynihan says the public needs to start thinking before they criticize his company.
"I, like you, get a little incensed when you think about how much good all of you do, whether it's volunteer hours, charitable giving we do, serving clients and customers well," Moynihan said to employees in a global town hall meeting last week, Bloomberg reports. "You ought to think a little about that before you start yelling at us."
The banking giant has received an outpouring of criticism since announcing last month it would start charging customers $5 per month to use their debit cards for purchases. Following the fee, customers and others took their angry comments to Twitter to criticize the debit card charge and a website malfunction that left users unable to access their accounts online for hours.
The bank has also been hammered in the stock and bonds markets. Bank of America was the worst performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average for two-quarters straight, according to the Wall Street Journal, while Moody's downgraded the bank last month.
President Barack Obama told ABC News of the fee that banks "don't have some inherent right just to, you know, get a certain amount of profit if your customers are being mistreated." Earlier this month, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) encouraged customers to take their business to a different bank instead of paying the fee.
Durbin authored the amendment to the Dodd-Frank financial reform act that limited the amount banks can charge merchants in swipe fees. Many banks have defended their decisions to start charging for once-free services by saying that the new regulations are costing them revenue.
Moynihan said earlier this month that his bank's $5 fee is justified because the bank "has a right to make a profit," according to CNNMoney. The bank netted $6.2 billion in profits last quarter compared to a $7.3 billion loss in the same quarter of last year.
In addition to charging the debit card fee, Bank of America is using other tactics to raise revenue. The bank announced last month that it would slash 30,000 jobs over the next few years in an effort to save $5 billion per year.Moynihan also didn't receive a raise in 2011, keeping his salary flat at $950,000. Comparatively, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon took home a $19 million raise in 2010, while Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein raked in an extra $3.6 million in bonuses last year.