Bank of America Wins Initial Approval of $20 Million Accord

Bank of America Corp. won preliminary court approval of a $20 million settlement of a consumer lawsuit over its marketing of credit protection.

Credit card customers alleged that they were charged a monthly fee for “Credit Protection Plus” and got nothing meaningful in return, according to documents filed in federal court in San Francisco. Bank of America charged customers for the service without authorization, enrolled them through deceptive marketing and improperly denied benefits, their lawyers alleged.

Bank of America created a $20 million fund to pay card holders who enrolled in the program starting in 2006. Some may be eligible for $50 and $100 awards. The bank also agreed to change some of its practices related to the program. U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson in San Francisco gave preliminary approval to the settlement today.

The bank denied wrongdoing, according to the settlement. Betty Reiss, a spokeswoman for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America, didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message seeking comment about the accord.

The case is In Re: Bank of America Credit Protection Marketing and Sales Practice Litigation, 11-2269, U.S. District Court (San Francisco).