Three months after the backlash grew when Bank of America attempted to levy a monthly debit card usage fee to spawn Bank Transfer Day, the financial institution is not saying whether the nationwide effort had an impact on any account closures.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank released its 2011 fourth-quarter report Jan.19. Average deposit balances rose nearly $25 billion to $1.03 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2011 from $1.01 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to BofA.
The bank attributed the increase to a “growth in liquid products in a low-rate environment.”
In the month leading up to Bank Transfer Day on Nov. 5, consumers were urged to shut their accounts down at banks and move them to credit unions and smaller community banks. CUNA reported 214,000 joined credit unions in the month leading up to Transfer Day.
BofA is not releasing any details on whether it experienced any account closures during the fourth quarter or around Transfer Day.
“We do not break that out. We provide overall deposit balances though, which were up $25 [billion] year over year for [quarter four],” Jerry Dubrowski, a BofA spokesman, told Credit Union Times.
According to the bank’s latest quarterly report, new U.S. credit card accounts grew 53% in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. However, card revenue dropped 24% to $4.1 billion driven by a decrease in net interest income and the implementation of new interchange fee rules, which led to a drop of $430 million in revenue.
While BofA is touting its overall fourth-quarter financials, the bank is in the midst of Project New BAC, a two-phase initiative that began in the third quarter to simplify and streamline the company, align expenses and increase revenues. The bank said the second phase will cover the balance of businesses and operations that were not evaluated in the first phase.
“We enter 2012 stronger and more efficient after two years of simplifying and streamlining,” said BofA CEO Brian Moynihan. “We built our capital ratios to record levels during 2011 on the strength of our core businesses.”
Meanwhile, credit unions are still basking in Transfer Day’s glow. Dick Ensweiler, president/CEO of the Texas Credit Union League, recently pointed to the day’s impact saying consumer discontent with big banks and a down economy were key reasons why credit union membership grew in 2011.