Bank Of America: Predatory Banking

| October 21, 2009 | 1 Comment

Bank Still Gouging Customers Despite Pending Legislationbank-america-logo

One of the most popular articles at Eye On Annapolis was the one on the outrageous fees imposed by Bank of America. Well it seems they are at it again with a vengeance.

A reader sent us an email detailing his latest run in with the bank that doesn’t care.  In order to avoid fees, he banks electronically and does not have a physical check book. Yesterday, he did indeed withdraw his account and was assessed a $35 fee and immediately went to the bank and made a cash deposit to cover it. However, unknown to him, Bank of America had been holding a charge from October 19, 2009 and put it in immediately after the account was overdrawn triggering another $35 fee. For some unexplained (to him) reason, the bank tagged on two more additional fees for a total of $140 for an overdraft of $18 which was corrected within hours.

We contacted Bank of America this morning and must say that their customer service is probably some of the worst out there. But then again, it was Bank of America who refused to cash a check for a customer without a thumbprint–even though he had no hands.  Initially we spoke with a representative named Blake who refused to give us his ID number or the name and number of someone in authority. We called back and spoke with a floor supervisor named John who likewise refused to provide the information.

However, John, the floor supervisor did disclose that Bank of America has just implemented a new program where they will decline ATM transactions if there is no money in the account. What a novel idea! We asked when this policy went into place, how they notified their customers, and how do customers implement it, we were told that it went into place on October 19, 2009 and customers were not notified yet, but if they wanted to “participate” they could call the main number (voicemail hell) and have the “feature” added to their account.

We can’t help but notice the coincidence of the new policy that depletes their fee frenzy and the dates of the transactions for our reader. Did Bank of America make a last minute grab for fees? It certainly seems so. Is Bank of America trying to keep this a secret? It certainly seems so.

We asked John if he was familiar with the new legislation being proposed by US  Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT). He said he was not. But Bank of America’s new policies seem to be disingenuous at best. They claim to waive overdraft fees for accounts overdrawn $10 or less, but it is a moot point because they routinely hold transactions and post them to their benefit in order to get beyond the $10 threshold and then asses the full $35 fee multiple times.

The moral of the story is that the big national banks are raping the consumer. Bank of America has no issues with taking bailout funds from the government and bailout funds from their customers $35 at a time.  If there ever was a poster child for predatory banking, Bank of America and it’s Chairman Walter Massey would be at the top of the list. However, some slack needs to be given to Massey since his predecessor Ken Lewis seems to have done most of the damage. But then again, it seems that Bank of America can’t even get their own house in order, why would their customers expect anything different?

For an entertaining, yet not too far off base look at Bank of America’s predatory practices, click here. (20 sec continuous loop, will open in new window)

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Category: OPINION

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