Bank of America – Duh!

Bank of America announced today that, “in response to customer feedback and the changing competitive marketplace, Bank of America no longer intends to implement a debit usage fee.”

That got me thinking two things: First of which, could BoA not have predicted what the customer feedback would be back in September when it announced the debit card usage fee?

I just don’t know where to go. Are BoA executives living in such a Versailles-like separation from reality that they thought customers would be kosher with a new fee to access their own money? If this decision were run by the senior director of of corporate communication (making the assumption that said person were competent at his/her job), he or she would most certainly have gone ballistic in trying to prevent the fee from being implemented. Of course, any competent senior manager in communication could have seen how stakeholders like the media, the general public, the government, other regulatory agencies and your own customers react to news of fees after the bank received a corporate bailout and announced 30,000 layoffs.

But…

A quick look at the Bank of America list of corporate officers shows that BoA’s director of corporate communication isn’t on the senior management team.

And there’s the rub.

Another organization that shows a disregard not only for the importance of seeing public relations as a management function takes an action to protect its bottom line without looking at the effects it would have on its most important stakeholders — those that keep the organization in business.

I’m not a genius, but I’d bet my car and my very cute and well behaved dog that, even with the announced repeal of the fee, BoA still sees a precipitous decline in its customer base and its already tarnished corporate reputation.

I’ll address the second question that came to mind tomorrow: Why is it that BoA couldn’t pull off this small five dollar fee when airlines have been able to pull off fees for everything from baggage to potato chips?