Banks are scrambling to find new footing as lawmakers and regulators undermine one of the industry's profit foundations: consumer fees.

Federal rules on credit card practices instituted a year ago kicked off a year in which fee income, a large and dependable source of retail banking profits, came under assault on many fronts. Lawmakers and regulators instituted a series of policies that restricted the industry's ability to charge for everything from credit card overlimit transactions to checking account overdrafts.

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