Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis has confirmed speculation that the West Coast bank is exploring the possibility of leaving Visa and developing its own branded card scheme.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Wall Street Journal, Lewis commented: "I'm not real happy at this point that we built that brand when we could have been spending money on the Bank of America brand. Why not become the old BankAmericard again?"
Bank of America is the largest issuer of debit and credit cards in the US and makes up to 20% of Visa's business according to Nielsen Report estimates.
Lewis' comments follow a recent report by Morgan Stanley which estimated that Bank of America could save itself some $75 million in fees annually by setting up a rival card payment network.
Some analysts suggest that the bank is just sabre rattling as part of a negotiating tactic to lower charges. Others point out that BofA's recent $35 billion acqusition of MBNA Corp has given it added scale, making a bolt for independence more plausible.