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BofA calls debit card customer

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Friday, October 14, 2011
Posted: 12 pm ET

A Bank of America executive has responded to a woman who started an online petition to protest the bank's new debit card fee.

Andrew Plepler, who has the long double-barreled title of global corporate social responsibility executive and consumer policy executive at Bank of America, earlier this week called Molly Katchpole, a 22-year-old Bank of America customer, who started the petition on Change.org, a do-it-yourself petitions website.

According to the website, Plepler told Katchpole that the bank understands the people who signed her petition are "very frustrated," that it would be "premature" to say whether the fee might be reversed and that the bank constantly listens to customer feedback.

Plepler is in charge of BofA's philanthropic grants, community development lending and investing goals, Community Reinvestment Act compliance, associate volunteer programs, partnerships with nonprofit organizations, arts and culture programming, and environmental initiative, according to a biography published by American Banker, a banking industry news organization. He is also responsible for interfacing with consumer and community groups and representing the bank's positions on consumer issues.

Katchpole is struggling financially and doesn't want to pay to use her debit card, according to a Change.org statement.

"I can barely afford to make ends meet," Katchpole said in the statement. "Now I'm expected to hand over money to Bank of America each month just for using my own debit card?"

For the record, any money in Katchpole's bank account belongs to her, but the debit card is a bank product, not a personal possession.

The $5 monthly debit card fee is waived for Bank of America customers who have a substantial bank balance or utilize other bank products and services. Other large banks have also introduced monthly debit card fees on a trial basis in some states.

The media campaign to promote Katchpole's petition, which has collected more than 200,000 signatures, is being organized by Change.org.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff

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297 Comments
gh
December 11, 2011 at 7:53 pm

#5.00 is pretty cheap compared to the Ft Knox CU that charges a $1.00 EVERY time you use it as debit. Now that adds up! But faster than the speed of light processing as a credit transaction.

Johnny
December 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Forget banks, join a Credit Union. You get better rates and MUCH more personal service. When I need to finance something, I can walk in to my local Credit Union and in 15 minutes walk out with a check.

kate
December 10, 2011 at 10:54 pm

OK. Perfect time to vent against BofA. I work as a substitute teacher in several districts and I also fill in at a Home Care Agency - so I get many little checks from about 4 or 5 different banks. My newest employer uses BofA. I got a tiny check for maybe $17 for a couple of hours of work, The local BofA was convenient, so I popped in there to cash it. Since my account isn't there, they wanted to charge me $6 to cash a check DRAWN ON THEM! I told the teller that I have never had that happen at any other back - her reply "They all do it"! I have never had a bank do that. Talk about greed - their own check!

BobB
December 09, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I have banked with BofA for almost 40 years. In the early years their customer service was GREAT - when it was really BofA (Bank of Italy) out of San Francisco. When they merged with the east coast bank and they moved their offices out of San Francisco, customer service for the most part went to hell. Exception seemed to be at the smaller branches (on the west coast) where
the interaction is still good, but once you have to deal with them nationally, it bombs. I have been gradually moving my business away from BofA to a regional bank and a credit union as BofA closes most of its smaller offices.

I have learned that the Co-op Credit Union Network of ATMs is actually better than BofA's which I originally thought was the best. My regional bank also has a network of ATMs which is very good and also has free access.

elizabeth roach
December 08, 2011 at 12:56 am

I have been with bank of America for twenty something years now,it has been one hassle after the next a long with fees one right after the next after eleven years at my previous job I had to retire early due to a medical condition. I could not make the high payments on my credit card and I tried and tried with Bank of America to lower my payment they did not budge.Yes they are a big Bank and they do not have to be so personal with there customers. How ever I think there should be standard rules by law to where every Bank should have to follow for all accounts personal and business accounts.Because there are practically a BOA on every corner and because of my disability I am not physically able to make it around to the smaller Banks plus I have direct deposit for child support and debits automatically coming out of my account I am forced to just stay with this Bank for now.

John
December 07, 2011 at 5:39 pm

BofA can just about do what they want because they are a big bank. My daughter went overseas for 2 years and we became power of attorney for her savings acct. Went thru all the hoops to register with the county and every thing was legal. Then a year later we tried to get the money and move it to a higher paying interest account and BofA said we couldn't do it & that we would have to get daughters permission in writing. Told them that was what the power of attorney was for. So they won, we fought it for 6 months and they seemed like they weren't budging. Never will let them have access to my money. I'll put iot under a mattress before I use them

steward
December 07, 2011 at 1:37 am

@Ron: The major banks got that way by buying local banks. Over 20 years ago I opened an account at the First National Bank of Toms River in NJ, a small local bank. They invested in some TX swampland and the FDIC arranged for a somewhat larger bank, First Fidelity, to take over its assets and liabilities. Then First Union bought First Fidelity, Wachovia bought First Union, and Wells Fargo came out on top in a tussle with Citibank to buy Wachovia.

So, now I have a Wells Fargo account. And a lot of people who have moved their money to small local banks will have to do it again and again to keep it that way as the local banks get bought out.

P.H.
December 07, 2011 at 12:22 am

I've never heard even one good comment about this bank except that it was open on Sundays. Everyone had money "Missing" from their savings or checking accounts,overdraft charges for accounts that weren't overdrawn,unexplained fees, They refuse to cash their own checks,etc. I won't even accept a check from that bank.If a credit card said B of A on it,I would decline the card.They probably won't pay your business even if the person has a million dollars in their account. Anyone who is still using them should be tested for a mental illness.Is being extremely stupid a severe mental disease ? American Express used to be "not accepted" , Let's all "NOT ACCEPT ANYTHING" from this bank.

carrie
December 06, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Bank of America once "lost" an ATM deposit of mine and then charged me all kinds of overdraft fees - this was in the days before online banking, so I was unaware of the problem until I received an overdraft notice. I fired them and have never looked back!

I am very happy with the personal service and ease of access to my money that I enjoy through my credit union and the credit union service centers all across the U.S. I use surcharge-free ATMs at 7-11 for free access to my cash.

Ron
December 04, 2011 at 2:21 am

What people fail to realize about Bank of America, it is a Corporation/Business bank. When it first started out (and really even to this day) it was never meant to be a Citizens Bank. That is why it is best to bank with a small town local bank. All the majors: Regions, Wells Fargo, etc... are all Corporation banks.