Financial exchange traded funds have rallied this week on news Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) is in an $8.5 billion mortgage-putback settlement while payment card companies surged after a favorable ruling from the Federal Reserve.

Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEArca: XLF) soared 2% on Wednesday, lifted by a 3% rally in Bank of America on hopes the mortgage settlement will clear some of the uncertainty hanging on the stock. [Financial ETFs Rise]

Separately, the Fed on Wednesday voted to raise the cap on interchange fees to 21 cents per transaction, up from the 12-cent limit it had proposed earlier. Shares of Visa (NYSE: V) and MasterCard (NYSE: MA) jumped more than 10% Wednesday.

“In a partial victory for banks, the Fed backed off its proposed $0.12 maximum per-‘swipe’ debit card fee rule, and issued a final ruling that will allow banks to charge a three-part fee that adds up to $0.27 per transaction,” Miller Tabak analysts wrote in a note Thursday. “Directionally, this is a relief for many banks.”

Banks need all the help they can get as their shares have been under pressure this year. The financial ETF remains in negative territory for 2011 despite the recent bounce.

Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund “has been on a road to nowhere for almost two years now,” said Thursday.

Showing Page 1 of 2