The problem in this country is that making money isn’t enough. In the Wall Street environment that we have now, you always have to make more money than you did last quarter and more than you did last year. This is an impossible task to do forever, obviously, but Wall Street punishes those who don’t crank up the money machine. So, the fact that Bank of America is making money ain’t enough. They need to make more money. So instead of doing something like earning it, they thought that abusing their own customers was a good idea. They decided that they needed to charge their customers (who are nothing more than little piles of money) a monthly fee to use their stupid ATM cards.
“I, like you, get a little incensed when you think about how much good all of you do, whether it’s volunteer hours, charitable giving we do, serving clients and customers well,” Moynihan said during the Oct. 18 gathering. To the bank’s critics, he said, “You ought to think a little about that before you start yelling at us.”
Really? That’s what he is bringing to the table. We spend a couple of million on charity so we should be able to rip you off for a couple billion in stupid fees? That’s his argument.
As I mentioned before, Americans are tired of being ripped off by American corporations. Maybe BOA didn’t read my blog. Maybe they don’t care about the fact that the American people are in a terrible bind. They don’t have any extra money.
Fact #1: Bank of America continues to smother job creation by refusing to lend to small-businesses:
Bank of America went from being one of the top SBA lenders in 2006, making $415 million in loans to small businesses, to extending just $46 million in loans in 2010, an 89 percent drop. No wonder that Bloomberg reported that Bank of America ranked lowest in a 24-bank survey of small business customer satisfaction.
Fact #2: Bank of America continues to prefer to kick homeowners out of their homes than do permanent, sustainable loan modifications:
After participating in the HAMP program for two-and-a-half years, Bank of America has made permanent loan modifications to just 136,195 families. Meanwhile, they’ve denied or canceled modification for 683,000 families. This means homeowners have a one out of six chance of getting a permanent HAMP modification with Bank of America. In August 2011, the bank granted HAMP trial modifications to just 1% of eligible borrowers, according to a monthly report from the U.S. Treasury.
Fact #3: Bank of America — and to be fair, the other big banks too — is actually increasing homeowner indebtedness, not reducing it:
A report by the Congressional Oversight Panel last December found that nearly 95 percent of active, permanent loan modifications resulted in homeowners actually having a higher unpaid principal balance than before the modification. Translation: even those lucky few who manage to get a mortgage modification from Bank of America still end up deeper in debt than when they started. Keep this in mind every time you hear Bank of America or any other big bank tout big numbers of homeowners they have helped — 95 percent of them are deeper in debt than when they started.
Fact #4: Bank of America continues to be a major threat to American taxpayers:
And the threat just grew by trillions of dollars. Last week, federal bank regulators allowed Bank of America to transfer the riskiest of its crumbling assets from an uninsured Merrill Lynch division to the deposit-insured and discount-window-eligible Bancorp division. As Simon Johnson from MIT wrote, “The move puts the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on the hook for any losses…because the agency can tap a U.S. Treasury line of credit if the fund runs dry, taxpayers could be at risk, too.” This is an unacceptable shift of Wall Street risk onto the American taxpayers, and some are saying the beginning of another backdoor bailout for Bank of America.