A four-year old lawsuit over the use of mandatory arbitration to settle credit card and debt collection disputes is heading toward an end. This week, Bank of America reached a tentative settlement to drop the arbitration clause and class action ban from its consumer and small business credit card agreements for at least 3.5 years beginning in 2010. BofA will also immediately stop enforcing the existing arbitration clauses against cardholders. A prior tentative settlement was announced with Chase in November. In June, the case was amended to add the National Arbitration Forum as a defendant. The lawsuit had accused BofA, Cap One, Chase, Citi, Discover, HSBC and others of having secretly met or consulted some 30 times for the purpose of requiring cardholders to arbitrate all disputes with credit card companies in violation of the antitrust laws.