Copyright The Bettina Network, Inc. 2009
We are beginning to receive notes from former guests on suggestions for companies which should be in “Bettina’s Box of Shame” and Bettina’s Hall of Shame.”
The company about which we have received the most complaints and suggestions as to why they should receive the award is BANK OF AMERICA. It is also the company which has been most negatively discussed over many breakfasts.
We have done what is a first for us – to go out and independently investigate this company to see if all of this discussion was real and true or misplaced frustration over the state of the economy and the huge anger at banks. We went through months of investigation and pushed the envelope beyond anything we have done before, including establishing accounts at Bank of America to experience first hand what we were being told.
Given the enormity of what we have been hearing for several years now, we felt the sacrifices we made to do this were worth it to either turn a light on a huge problem or exonerate Bank of America. We did wonder if Bank of America was being used as a scape goat for the anger focused on banks today.
What we wanted to know was why so much negativity was centered around Bank of America, far more than around any of the other banks.
What we discovered: Bank of America is a company which cannibalizes its own customers.
After doing quite a bit of investigation, we award to BANK OF AMERICA a place of dishonor. It is being placed in Bettina’s Hall of Shame.
There has been much anger over what has happened with banks in general and with the amount of tax payers money going into banks to save them from their own mistakes. That is not why we have given Bettina’s Hall of Shame award to Bank of America. What we discovered through our investigation makes other banks look angelic by comparison.
Bank of America has set up a computer system which creates a slippery slope for middle Americans to move swiftly from middle to lower class in income, finances, etc. What we have seen says to us Bank of America depends upon humiliation and lies to get away with what gives new definition to theft.
If you open a checking account with Bank of America you need to understand that one day they will take your money out of your checking account without your knowledge or consent and you will feel as though your checking account has sprung a leak.
The Federal Reserve Board is complicit in this, although Bank of America has taken the policies of the Federal Reserve and used them to fill their coffers in what we see as unethical and immoral behavior which is totally detrimental to this society and to the world community.
Since they are among the banks having financial problems, one wonders what happens and has happened to all the money they have ripped out of the American economy from American families!
When Bank of America erred and wound up in troubles from which they had to be extricated using American tax payers money – that all happened very quickly and their bottom line improved from having “free” money to use. They in turn use and used crime and punishment responses to their depositors and those who do business with Bank of America in the most vile and vicious ways. Their punishment is for the smallest of missteps and the price is extraordinarily high.
As we finished our investigation we realized the results were far too large to put in a blog. We have summarized our findings and will keep the interviews, statements others wrote about this abuse and ways that we went about this investigation for some other forum yet to be determined.
What we discovered that immediatley needs to be changed to mitigate some of Bank of America’s misuse and abuse of the system is the Federal Reserve’s policies allowing banks to hold depositors money for 5 to 7 to 9 days without paying checks presented against those funds and without allowing the depositor to withdraw their funds.
What kind of change? A change from allowing banks to use the new technology and the old ways to make money. Either one or the other should apply.
When you make a deposit into a bank in the form of checks – money orders – etc. , the money is in the bank within 2 to 3 days even if it is an out of state check. The Federal Reserve allows banks to hold your money as unavailable to you for 5 days, under some circumstances for 7 days and sometimes for as much as 9 days. Using that policy to the fullest, Bank of America has programmed into its computers ways of making huge sums of money for the bank at the expense of its depositors.
The bank is able to use your money for the 2 to 7 days it is sitting under their control, while it is returning your checks and collecting over $35 per check. Bank of America has programmed its computers to automatically put a hold on your funds once you have a returned check. That hold is kept on your account for an indefinite amount of time and employees of the bank are not allowed to remove the hold – even if there are extreme circumstances which caused you to overdraw your account. Subsequently you could have $8,000 in deposits sitting in your account, Bank of America will return a $43 check and charge you $35 for the experience. This is not limited to new accounts, this has happened to those who have had accounts for some ten years with Bank of America.
The quickness of technology has been taken advantage of by banks to benefit banks, and the slowness of the old ways has been taken advantage of by banks to benefit banks. Bank of America has taken this to a high art and has institutionalized applying stress on its employees causing them to lie and attempt to intimidate the very customers who make their jobs possible.
What we’ve seen is that those who can’t make that cut are fired or forced to quit. From what we have found, we think those who have left, either voluntarily or who have been forced out should be given an award for valor under fire.
To get an idea of the magnitude of this problem, put “Bank of America complaints” in your search engine and prepare to be amazed at what comes up. As you read these complaints, think about the stress and frustration the people are experiencing who have written them. We are basically lethargic as a country. A few activists, but mostly the quiet middle class. That quiet middle class is who is writing those complaints.
On their overnight transactions with the Federal Reserve, they have maximum monies from having returned your check – they can use the funds you deposited without paying your obligations, as they should – and they can continue to use your monies to increase their standing with the feds, lower the amount they need to borrow and receive interest on the excess amount they have to offer – all at their customers’ expense and you have paid for the privilege of hurting yourself for the bank.
The check example is but one of several ways in which Bank of America abuses its customers. We have cited it because it is one which negatively affects most people. None of us are perfect and those imperfections are what Bank of America uses to take its customers’ money while making them feel as though they have violated some ethical code while all the time Bank of America is the violator of basic ethical codes.
Middle Americans can be easily shamed by large institutions and Bank of America has taken that flaw and woven it throughout its institution. It has and is receiving benefits it should not derive from this kind of abuse.
We have two examples:
1. What was considered loan sharking and was illegal is now a respected way of doing business and is normal banking practices. Bank of Amerca has used every loop hole to squeeze and extract every dime from their customers without any thought to the methods it uses to do just that or the consequences to the people it leaves destroyed on the side of the road.
2. It struck us as very much akin to spousal and child abuse which we read a lot about today, where the people being abused have a hard time moving away from their abuser.
We live in a democratic country. It is not perfect by any means and we have done some really horrible things as a country, but we have continued to try to better ourselves morally and otherwise. When we have seen transgressions we have attempted to address them – first by a few activists who are out front before the rest of us know what they are talking about, and then gradually by the many who begin to get the message and the veil drops from their eyes giving them clearer sight.
We hope Bettina’s Hall of Shame gives you something to think about as to the length institutions and people will go to harm one another. We hope you will reach out to do something about these transgressions. We can, each one of us, in our own way, contribute to stopping this and relieving some of the pain and suffering these ways have caused our sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, children and grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
We submit to you BANK OF AMERICA as the first institution taking its well deserved place in BETTINA’S HALL OF SHAME. What say you? What will you do?
Respectfully submitted by All of Us at Bettina’s
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