The following was written by Mike Reed of Sheridan, IL, courtesy of MoveOn.org.
On Saturday, members of the South Suburban MoveOn Council and dozens of outraged citizens met peacefully at Bank of America’s (BOA) West Jefferson Street location in Joliet, to protest its unfair policies regarding mortgages. When two members of the council attempted to enter the bank during normal business hours in order to present a letter addressed to BOA CEO Brian Moynihan, the security guards locked the doors against them.
The protesters carried signs, chanted anti-bank slogans, and drew positive responses from thousands of motorists passing by the site. Many of these people are in desperate straits—if they haven’t been foreclosed on themselves, they have seen their own property values plummet as a domino effect of the other actions.
BOA has come under fire in recent years for its irresponsible tactics in granting loans, for its reckless misrepresentation of mortgaging terms, and for its huge numbers of mortgage foreclosures. All of these practices contributed directly to BOA’s near failure, and only a $25 billion bailout from American taxpayers kept the banking giant afloat.
Since that disaster, BOA has been using these newfound assets, not to assist those people who in part helped the bank survive (i.e., taxpayers), but rather to reward stockholders and feather the salary nests of its executive corps; Moynihan will get at least $10 million this year. Many thousands of homeowners have fallen victim to the mortgage crisis, but BOA refuses to acknowledge its role in creating the mess. It goes on, somehow making huge dollars at a time when the middle class is taking a severe beating through unemployment and foreclosures.
One example of this corporate greed and ignorance of the ordinary citizen’s plight is that in a recent quarter BOA made a profit of $6.2 billion, yet did not pay one penny of federal income tax in 2010. And, instead of righting the wrongs of the mortgage debacle, BOA sadly continued on its foreclosure course.
Oh, and what was in the letter which may or may not reach the desk of CEO Moynihan? Just a few practical, economically sound, and supremely humane demands—like dealing in good faith with homeowners in distress; putting a cap on loan modification fees; increasing the number of modifications and stopping the delay tactics currently used; and eliminating fees charged to customers who choose to close their accounts.
And finally, these fed-up citizens would like to have BOA get behind President Barack Obama’s Jobs Plan in order to incite and economic recovery that would enable ordinary citizens to pay their mortgages.