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(NYS: BAC) customers could see an additional debit card fee on their accounts as early as next year. In hopes of recovering revenue lost after the implementation of new federal regulations, the bank plans to charge a monthly $5 fee for debit card use. The Dodd-Frank Act's Durbin Amendment, due to go into effect Oct.1, reduces the amount a bank can charge per debit card transaction from an average of $0.44 to $0.21. The new measures could potentially cost banks billions of dollars, in addition to dealing with challenges like low interest rates, higher capital requirements, and a sluggish economy.
Other major banks, like Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and SunTrust, are testing or planning similar debit card fees. Bank of America has seen a decrease in its card services income. The bank reported a $1 billion income for these services in the second quarter, a 34% decrease from the $1.5 billion for the same period in 2010. Other banks, like Citigroup, have said they will not implement such fees. Read more at Reuters.
's (NAS: NFLX) expansion into Latin America will come with many challenges. Aside from lower incomes and less broadband availability, Netflix faces competitors such as Telefonica's (NYS: TEF) TerraTV and Carlos Slim's Net Servicios de Comunicacao, which have entrenched businesses in the most important markets.
Some analysts believe the obstacles will keep Netflix from achieving subscriptions for 10% of all broadband, which it needs to break even. The company began selling subscriptions in Latin America Sept. 5 and has already reached 43 countries. Its adjusted price is $7.24 a month in Mexico and $7.99 everywhere else. Read more at Bloomberg.
(NAS: RIMM) , known for its business-oriented BlackBerry phone, is seeing a split in the company's vision. While preparing to release the Playbook tablet, executives debated whether to market it as an extension of the BlackBerry, favored by business folks, or toward average Joes and Janes, who are eager to get more movies, games, and apps. The ad campaign was supposed to combine the two audiences by using celebrities to promote it while using the tag line "Go Pro" to attract the business side.
But by the time the Playbook was released, RIM's marketing chief and most of his deputies had left, and the campaign and its ad agency had been dumped. With a new competitor added this week, Amazon's (NAS: AMZN) Fire Kindle, some say RIM's tablet is positioned to be one of its biggest failures, at a time when the company is struggling with lower demand and declining profits. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.
In a deal between McGraw-Hill (NYS: MHP) and CME Group (NAS: CME) , two of the best-known stock market indexes could begin working on a joint venture. CME Group owns most of the Dow Jones Industrial Index and McGraw-Hill owns the Standard & Poor's 500. The two companies are in well-advanced negotiations and could reach an agreement within a few weeks.
If the deal goes through, it would be the first time both indexes would be operating under the same roof. Though much of the details have not been disclosed, it is known that McGraw-Hill would own 75% of the joint venture, while CME Group would own the remaining 25%. Dow Jones, which owns about 10% of its eponymous index and must approve the deal, would receive some stake in the new venture. The project would create a leader in market indexes by combining the two and including derivatives of their flagship products. The initiative is part of McGraw Hill's goal of revamping the company and raising its stock price. Read more at Dealbook.
So there you have it, the top financial stories for this afternoon. If you are interested in getting all the news and commentary on these stocks, sign up to My Watchlist here; it's free!
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At the time this article was published Michelle Zayed doesn't own any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Telefonica, and Research In Motion. Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Netflix and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bear put spread position in Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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