It's latest effort to try and wring revenue from its most basic banking product (and a loss leader), Bank of America (BAC +0.9%) today begins offering "Safe Balance" - a checkless account for customers with low balances for a monthly fee of $4.95. The account won't allow overdrafts, so it could make sense for those depositors whose balances sometimes fall to zero, causing them to get stuck with overdraft fees.
This effort looks to be a little more well-prepared than previous efforts in 2011 and 2012 which drew swift regulatory and customer blowback and were quickly withdrawn. "We've been doing a lot of listening to customers, doing a lot of meetings with regulators and [consumer] advocates," says BofA's Andrew Plepler. "Predictability, safety, no surprises, no hidden fees is a recurring theme."
The stock hit a 4-year high earlier in the session, before pulling back a bit.