Bank of America Corp's exposure to the European debt crisis is very small but that region's problems pose a real threat to the U.S. economy, Chief Executive Brian Moynihan said on Wednesday.

Moynihan, speaking at the Washington Ideas Forum, also said Bank of America's stock has suffered more than the shares of other banks lately because of concerns about the company's earnings power amid deteriorating economic projections.

But he added that the economy is still growing and that the bank's customers spent more in September than last year.

Bank of America's stock fell below $6 on Monday for the first time since March 2009. The shares rose one cent on Wednesday to close at $5.77.

Bank of America faces a series of challenges. The largest U.S. bank by assets is dealing with new regulations and a weak economy that threaten profitability of the whole industry.

It also faces losses and lawsuits tied to its 2008 purchase of Countrywide Financial Corp.

Moynihan said a settlement with state attorneys general over allegations that banks mishandled foreclosure documents may or may not get done.

More recently, the bank came under criticism over a plan to charge a $5 per-month fee to customers who use their debit cards for purchases.

Moynihan, who was interview by CNBC's Larry Kudlow at the forum, said the bank had a duty to get a fair return for shareholders and that the Dodd-Frank law was probably costing the bank billions of dollars.

He said many customers will be able to avoid the fees by doing more business with the bank.

Responding to criticism from Democratic Senator Dick Durbin -- the author of the amendment in the law that crimps banks' ability to charge retailers fees when customers swipe their debit cards -- Moynihan said his bank had 7,000 employees in Illinois, the home of Durbin.

(Reporting by Rick Rothacker and Joe Rauch in Charlotte, North Carolina; Editing by Robert MacMillan and Tim Dobbyn)