If corporations are people, then Bank of America is a sociopath. The nation’s largest bank continually demonstrates that it doesn’t play nicely with other people. While the institution will gladly take your money, don’t expect it to have any respect for you in return. Here are five recent signs that BoA lacks humanity:
1. Stealing Homes
Heartlessly foreclosing on homes and leaving families homeless is definitely greedy. However, when Bank of America is caught illegally fudging paperwork and rules to steal homes from families who met the terms to keep their property, that’s when it’s clear how despicable the institution is.
BoA employees (by their own admission) were not only instructed, but often bribed to stall paperwork, lie to homeowners and fabricate missed payments to set foreclosure proceedings into motion. The bank makes it clear that destroying people’s lives – even fraudulently – is not off limits when profits are at stake.
2. Screwing Non-White Homeowners
In September, after being caught leveling higher interest rates and fees to hundreds of thousands of African Americans and Latinos, Bank of America conceded to pay a $335 million settlement. Furthermore, the bank also targeted minority homebuyers for subprime mortgages, thereby harming them financially. Most of the damage was done by Countrywide Financial, a company with a checkered past acquired by BoA in 2008.
3. Treating Female Employees Unfairly
Sadly, that’s not Bank of America’s only September discrimination settlement. BoA also shelled out an additional $39 million to female employees of the bank’s investment advice division. BoA and its subsidiary Merrill Lynch (which was found guilty of similar practices in the ‘90s) stood accused of “undermining women’s compensation and professional opportunities,” particularly by handing prime advantages and clients to male employees. Approximately 5,000 women will split the settlement due to BoA willfully ignoring civil rights legislation.
4. Discriminating Against Pregnant Women
If you think it’s rough being a woman at Bank of America, try being a pregnant woman. For whatever reason, the financial institution established separate refinancing regulations for pregnant homeowners and screwed over expecting mothers with these supposed “rules.” However, the Fair Housing Act forbids banks to differentiate between homeowners because of their sex and family status, making BoA’s stipulations not only unconscionable, but illegal.
Rather than letting these allegations play out in court, BoA settled with a pair of couples for $45,000 in the hopes of this not turning into a larger issue. Of course, one way for BoA to avoid a larger issue is to actually follow the law.
5. Outsourcing Tellers
Now Bank of America looks to be setting the groundwork to eliminate its tellers. There’s no clearer sign of eliminating humanity than to actually remove the human face from its business. New technology will allow customers to communicate with employees via ATM video screen instead of face-to-face.
Despite the bank’s massive profits, the move is designed to “cut costs.” Teller positions will be outsourced to states with bad wage laws, though it’s not hard to imagine they’ll be shipped abroad after not too long. By setting up call centers in states like Florida with awful labor laws, they’ll be able to bypass giving employees benefits and vacation time.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
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