Written by Mike G, Rainforest Action Network
Via Crooks & Liars we learn that Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan is “incensed” about all the pressure being brought to bear on his bank and its shady practices. In other words, what Moynihan is saying is: “The pressure is working. Keep it up.”
It seems that Moynihan is so concerned about all the negative press BoA’s been getting, in fact, that 135 representatives of his bank have made 1,500 visits and calls to local officials to remind them of all the money the bank lends in their communities. If that sounds a little creepy to you — like Don Corleone reminding someone of the “favor” he did for them — then you’re not alone.
Bloomberg has the scoop:
Bank of America’s outreach campaign is part of Moynihan’s effort to turn around the lender since he took over as CEO in January 2010 following two taxpayer bailouts. His plan to charge some debit-card users a $5 monthly fee drew reprimands from President Barack Obama and lawmakers, including U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, the Illinois Democrat who said customers should withdraw their deposits in protest.
“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.”
Moynihan is laboring to rebuild the bank’s reputation with customers, employees and investors. Even before the debit-card fee sparked protests in Los Angeles and Boston, state attorneys general blamed the bank for using improper documents to justify foreclosures. To help reverse a stock decline this year of more than 50 percent, the lender is cutting expenses by eliminating more than 30,000 jobs.
The thing is, Mr. Moynihan, we have thought long and hard about your bank and why we’re upset with you. You’re Bank of America, the Bank of Coal. You’re providing more money to coal projects than any other bank — like the coal-fired power plants that are poisoning communities around the country right now and cooking our climate — while you’re also a leading forecloser on Americans’ homes. Your bank took $138 billion in government handouts, then paid no federal taxes while you yourself were pocketing a $9 million bonus. On top of all that, you had the gall to then turn around and announce that your bank was so strapped for cash that you had to lay off 30,000 workers and charge customers $60 a year for the privilege of accessing their own money.
Oh, and that whole episode where one of your bank managers refused to let a customer close her account simply because she was doing so in protest of your bank’s contributions to the wrecking of our economy didn’t help you out any. Just FYI.
So spare us your faux outrage, Mr. Moynihan. Your bank deserves all the criticism it has received and more, and you know it more than anyone. We’re right to be incensed, and we’re not going to stop letting you know about it until Bank of America starts operating on the values of the communities you pretend to serve.
This post was originally published on Rainforest Action Network’s blog The Understory.
Photo from crystalbat via flickr