Bank of America account closings spiked after the Charlotte bank announced a controversial $5 debit card fee, but its checking and savings account balances appear largely unaffected.
Account closings were up 20 percent in the fourth quarter over the same time period in 2010, CEO Brian Moynihan told analysts during a conference call Thursday, as the bank became the target of criticism around the country.
Once the bank canceled plans for the fee, Moynihan said the closings slackened.
Despite the closings, average checking and savings account balances were down less than half a percent from the quarter before, to $204 billion, according to financial results released Thursday.
"Yes, we had some impact from the $5 debit fee. That's why we made the decision to reverse it," Moynihan said Thursday on the conference call. "Those impacts, in the scheme of things, will be manageable."
Total average and period-end deposits were down 1 percent from the quarter before, to about $1 trillion. The bank attributed it mainly to a decrease in high-interest time deposits like CDs. Deposits were still up from the fourth quarter 2010.