Bank of America retreats from overdraft fee hike

Bank of America Corp. is backing down from a previously announced overdraft fee increase, while adding charges that would hit customers who spend more than they have in their accounts.

The Charlotte-based bank on Tuesday also said it has launched a program to help customers who have lost their jobs.

The changes come as banks face criticism for raising fees and interest rates as customers struggle with tough economic times. Bank of America and others that have received taxpayer assistance are under particular fire.

Bank of America's changes offer a dose of good news and bad news for customers of the nation's biggest consumer bank.

The bank had been telling customers that it was raising its overdraft fee to $39 from $35, but that increase was suspended Monday, bank spokesman Jim Pierpoint said. He said the increase was dropped in consideration of the current economic climate, particularly rising unemployment.

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