As a long-time observer of the financial services industry, I was wondering how long Bank of America could hold onto plans for a new $5 monthly fee on debit accounts, starting in 2012.  The answer: About a month.  Earlier today, B of A announced that they are ending plans for the new fee roughly 32 days after it was announced, according to the Huffington Post. (Some wise senior manager at the bank probably had a monthly report dropped on their desk today showing high customer abandonment rates, shot through the roof, and called off the fee.)

In the past, banks have had the wiggle room to both add and increase fees, nudging them up to increase profits or stave off losses.  That, of course, was in the era before the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street and a myriad of other similar populist uprisings.

Last quarter, NetFlix CEO Reed Hastings learned what it means to draw the ire of the American consumer during tough economic times, when Hastings was forced to apologize for a planned product spin-off that amounted to a 60% price increase by the company.  Nearly 600,000 Netflix customers dropped the service after the price increase was initially announced and before his apology.

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