This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

How Bank of America Can Win Back Customers

Stocks in this article: BAC

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Netflix (NFLX) hasn't exactly been a model of consumer friendliness during the past several months, but there was at least one thing the company did right during the price hike and aborted Qwikster experiment: clear communication. As customers raged against the now-infamous 60% price hike, CEO Reed Hastings emailed Netflix's customers in an attempt to placate them.

"I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation," he wrote in September. "I offer my sincere apology."

Bank of America has been quiet in defeat after the debit card fee debacle, but there are some things the bank should be saying.

Bank of America (BAC), of course, recently found itself dealing with similar customer revolt after it announced in September a planned $5 per month debit card usage fee starting in 2012. Unlike Wells Fargo (WFC), which tested a $3 monthly debit card fee in several states to gauge customer reaction, Bank of America did not test the fees before the plans were announced, and after weeks of relentless criticism and customer defections, abruptly reversed course Tuesday, announcing it would kill the proposed fee and had no plans to resurrect it. In contrast to Netflix's correspondence with its customers, the announcement was terse and to the point, with the bank's co-chief operating officer David Darnell noting that "We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern."

For some consumers, simply killing the fee won't be enough to repair the relationship.

"They have a long way to go to build back that trust," says Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. "They need to say, 'We're sorry, we need to listen better, and we're interested in establishing a long-term relationship with you.'"

For Rheingold, the proposed fee was just the most public manifestation of what he sees as a worrying trend among the large banks, in which deposit customers and mortgage holders are treated as profit engines -- "their own version of cash machines," in his words -- rather than as partners in a relationship. It's a trend that's manifested itself in the form of shady mortgage servicing practices, but it wasn't until this latest move that the majority of customers began to take notice.

Perhaps it's unreasonable to expect Bank of America to apologize for a fee it never wound up implementing. But Bank of America customers will be acutely sensitive to any attempts to turn a profit at their expense in the future.

>To submit a news tip, email:

Follow on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,053.71 +23.50 0.13%
S&P 500 2,088.77 +6.89 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,806.8590 +33.3870 0.70%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs