Customers at Bank of America are more likely to leave the bank than customers of other big banks and credit unions, according to a recent poll.
Nine percent of Bank of America customers say they're "not at all likely" to continue with the bank, a Harris Interactive poll found. That's compared to 3 percent of JPMorgan Chase customers, 6 percent of Wells Fargo/Wachovia customers and 2 percent of credit union customers.
The results of the poll come just days after Bank of America announced it was scrapping plans to implement a much derided debit card fee. One-third of consumers said they would leave their banks if they put debit card fees in place, according to a Research Intelligence Group survey released last month. After Bank of America announced that it would charge customers $5 per month starting in 2012 to use their debit card for purchases, criticism poured in from customers and lawmakers.
But Bank of America wasn't the only bank to backtrack on proposed fees for once-free services. Suntrust Banks and Regions Financial called off their debit card fees hours before Bank of America made its announcement, according to the Wall Street Journal. JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo also cancelled programs testing debit card fees.
Still, some big banks haven't walked away from charging other fees. Citibank announced last month that it would charge some customers $20 for low account balances, the bank also announced in September that it would charge customers with basic checking accounts $10 per month if their balance ran below $1,500.
When the banks first started rolling out the fees, industry officials defended the charges saying that they needed to charge the fees in order to recoup losses that would result as lawmakers implemented the financial reforms in the Dodd-Frank Act.
But President Barack Obama wasn't buying it. In an interview with ABC News last month, Obama said that the banks "don't have some inherent right just to, you know, get a certain amount of profit if your customers are being mistreated."
And the customers say they're feeling like they're mistreated. Fifteen percent of Bank of America customers say the bank doesn't value them compared to 10 percent of Wells Fargo/Wachovia customers and less than 0.5 percent of credit union customers, according to the Harris poll.
The feelings of poor treatment have prompted consumers to switch over to credit unions. The nation's largest credit union said new account volumes were up 23 percent the weekend after Bank of America announced the debit card fee.
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