Bank of America Corp is reducing overdraft and other account fees for a broad swath of customer accounts in a two-stage process over the next year, the company announced late on Tuesday.

The fee reductions come amid increased criticism from congressional leaders of the industry's high fees for credit cards and customer accounts.

JPMorgan Chase is engaging in a similar plan, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Effective October 19, Bank of America will not charge overdraft fees for an account overdrawn by less than $10 for a single day, or more than four overdraft items in a single day.

The bank will also make it easier for customers to opt out of allow overdrafts on accounts.

The second stage, to take effect in 2010, will introduce an annual limit for the number of overdrafts a customer may have, as well as requiring all new account customers to explicitly allow overdrafts to take place on their accounts.

For customers near their annual overdraft limit, the bank will provide education and unspecified tools centered on personal financial management.

The announcement comes a week after the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank announced a credit card, called the Basic Card, with simpler terms and interest rates.

A company spokeswoman said the move was unrelated to outside political pressure, and had no projections on how this would impact the bank's fee-based revenue.

(Reporting by Joe Rauch; Editing by Gary Hill)