But consumers' anger is real and is unlikely to dissipate until the economy and the job market improve, experts say.

"They have reached their breaking point. They are doing things they normally are not willing to do, like sleep in a park and move to another bank," Ulzheimer said, referring to the Occupy movement that has hit many cities.

Not since the anti-war movement in the 1960s have people been so stirred up, said Roland Rust, a marketing professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park.

"You are seeing this tremendous wave of populism. You see it in the Tea Party on the right and the Occupy Wall Street on the left," he said, adding that the sides have similar complaints but far different solutions.

Brian Gunia, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University's Carey Business School, said consumers are not angrier these days but have more ways to express their frustration via social media.

For example, a 27-year-old Californian upset with debit card fees launched a "Bank Transfer Day" campaign on Facebook to urge customers to switch to a nonprofit credit union. And when Netflix announced recently that it was raising fees, a page quickly appeared on Facebook where consumers could complain, Gunia said.

It is not clear whether Bank of America's move Tuesday will be enough to mend fences.

Gunia, who specializes in corporate apologies, said much will depend on the bank's next steps. The statement by the company official was a good start, Gunia says, but the bank needs to say it's sorry and take responsibility for its miscalculation.

Companies that don't can live to regret it.

Netflix caused a stir when it announced it was splitting in two and raising fees. But what really upset consumers, Gunia said, is when the company's top executive indicated in interviews that he didn't care if the move cost the company customers.

"That ignited people's emotions," Gunia said.

Netflix, which lost 800,000 subscribers, later reversed its decision to split the company.

In Baltimore, consumers offered differing views Tuesday about forgiving Bank of America.

"The idea of changing [banks] is still on the table," said Jeremy Johnson, 26, a Bank of America customer.

He said it wasn't just the debit card fee that got him thinking about switching. Bank of America, he said, seems to lead the fight when the government tries to require greater disclosures and consumer protections.

But some are glad that Bank of America blinked, so they don't have to change.

Priscilla Venable, who stopped at an ATM at Lexington Market before working a night shift, said she likes the in-person customer service the bank provides. And her daughter is a teller at a branch in Brooklyn.

Even so, the proposed debit card fee was enough to make her contemplate pulling her money out.

"I thought about changing banks," Venable said. "But … all banks have these issues."

She is relieved that Bank of America decided not to go forward with the fees.

"I think it's because of the customers," she said. "Because the customers have a lot of power. They don't want to lose customers."

eileen.ambrose@baltsun.com

steve.kilar@baltsun.com



Bank of America in Md.



Deposits: $23.73 billion as of June 30

Market share: 20.47 percent, the largest in the state

Offices: 192, including 26 in Baltimore

Source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.