Thursday, October 27, 2011

Politicians Feel the Squeeze of BOA

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Bank of America has an image problem.  J.D. Power and Associates did a 24-bank survey of small business customer satisfaction that rated BOA at the bottom of the pile., a web site owned by Consumers Union, did an on-line survey of its subscribers which found BOA to be the second worst company in America, barely (just barely) losing out to the odious BP of the Caribbean oil slick fame.  Bank of America definitely has an image problem!

In a effort to increase revenue and bring it's stock prices back up (BOA was selling for $6.59 a share today), the corporation recently laid off 30,000 employees (Merry Christmas, y'all), and decided to stick a $5.00 monthly fee on the use of its debit cards.  The out-of-work employees obviously aren't overjoyed, and the debit card fee has managed to enrage much of the rest of the country.  There have been demonstrations against BOA in some American cities, and politicians, including President Obama, have voiced complaints about it.  Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois has gone so far as to suggest that depositors move their money out of Bank of America.

The new CEO of Bank of America, Brian T. Moynihan, is not taking all of this criticism gracefully.  He is encouraging his employees to write to state and municipal leaders and remind them of all of the good that BOA does for them and their constituencies.  (And the ones fortunate enough to still be employed are undoubtedly taking pen-in-hand, out of fear of losing their jobs if for no other reason.).  Implicit in the pressure being put on politicians by the giant bank is also the reminder of campaign cash that BOA generously slathers on the office holders.

The ridiculous pissy attitude of Moynihan is a perfect example of why angry protesters are occupying Wall Street, Oakland, Denver, Portland, Boston, and dozens of other American cities.  Bank of America has been bailed out twice with taxpayer money - and yet the CEO has the audacity to collect almost $2 million a year in salary - while 30,000 lose their jobs and millions of others get stuck with the unfair debit card fee.

I bank with Bank of America and own stock in the corporation.  I am dissatisfied with its operation and performance.  Better treatment of employees and better customer relations would do far more to strengthen its position in the business world than a CEO snit-fit and a silly letter-writing campaign.  

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