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Bank of America Could Nickel And Dime Its Way To $16



Banks such as JPMorgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo have introduced new fees on the checking account service after the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill restricted banks from charging merchants processing fees on debit card transactions.

Bank of America, the largest bank in the U.S. based on the level of deposits, is testing a new fee structure for its checking account service which used to be free. The new pilot program in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts allows customers to apply for various account types with monthly fees ranging from $6 to $25. The bank plans to expand the program nationally later this year.

We have a price estimate of $16.17 on Bank of America’s stock which is about 10% above the current market price.

Bank of America is trying to earn more revenues from its existing customer base by requiring them to use more products and services in order to avoid monthly fees. Under the new pilot program, Bank of America introduced four types of checking account.

“Essentials” is a basic account with a monthly fee and a debit card. “eBanking” accounts have no fees if the customer opts for e-statements and makes deposits and withdrawals online or by ATM. “Enhanced” accounts will have a fee if a customer doesn’t keep a minimum of $2,000 balance. “Premium” account requires a minimum of $20,000 balance and provides free money orders and check printing. [1]

New Fees Could Lift Service Fees As Percentage Of Deposits

The service fee as a percentage of deposits represents the total service fee that Bank of America generates on consumer banking and deposits business as a percent of the total outstanding deposits. The fees include overdraft fees, insufficient funds fees monthly fees and others.

Bank of America’s service fee as a percent of deposits declined from 1.9% in 2008 to about 1.3% in 2010 as the bank limited overdraft fees for customers and the implemented certain regulations by the Federal Reserve which restricted the bank’s ability to charge certain fees. We expect service fees as a percentage of deposits to increase back to about 1.7% after the introduction of new checking account fees. If this increased to around 2% by the end of the forecast period, this would add around 1-2% to our price estimate.

Below you can also see our forecast for profit margins on deposits and consumer loans. If we assume that higher profit margins would accompany higher fees for this business and we adjusted 2013 profit margin back to 2008 levels, this would chip in another 3%-4% to the price estimate.

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