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Bank of America plans to launch a small-dollar loan program similar to payday loans, but at a fraction of the cost.

The Charlotte-based bank last week unveiled its “Balance Assist” loans, which will be offered to customers who have had a Bank of America checking account for at least a year. Customers can borrow $100, $200, $300, $400 or $500 for the same fee of $5. That works out to an APR of 29.76% for a $100 loan to 5.99% for a $500 loan.

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Jim DuPlessis

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