Bank Watch

Bank of America makes CNBC list of ‘classic corporate blunders’

CNBC called the bank’s proposed $5 fee an ill-timed move as the Occupy Wall Street protests had begun to gain steam.
CNBC called the bank’s proposed $5 fee an ill-timed move as the Occupy Wall Street protests had begun to gain steam. jkomer@charlotteobserver.com

CNBC has compiled a list of a dozen “classic corporate blunders,” and Charlotte’s Bank of America is included for its proposal four years ago to charge customers for using their debit cards.

The list was released this month and features 12 missteps various companies have made and that CNBC says could have been avoided.

Other companies on the list include Kodak (for ignoring digital photography when it began taking off), Frito-Lay’s Wow chips (for the unpleasant side effects the fat substitute Olestra caused in some customers) and Coca-Cola (for changing the original formula of Coke in 1985, a move that set off consumer backlash).

Bank of America is featured for its announcement in 2011 of a $5 monthly fee that would be charged to some of its debit card customers. The bank later backed off the idea after significant outcry from consumers and politicians.

No other banks made the list.

Here’s what CNBC says about the Bank of America fee:

“It was an ill-timed move, especially as the Occupy Wall Street protests had begun to gain steam. More than 300,000 signed an online petition. Fox Business Network's Gerri Willis cut up her debit card on air. Bank of America pointed to federal regulations as the reason for the charge initially, but ultimately capitulated to consumer demand after a month, and before the fees went into effect.”

Bank of America declined to comment.

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Twitter: @DeonERoberts

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