Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bank of America and the Failing Economy

The whole Bank of America charging for using debit cards thing bugs me.

It bugs me not so much because it's another $5-a-month-nickel-and-dime-fee, but because of what it ultimately represents: a repetition of the very cycle of greed that ultimately underlies why banks-- and much of the greater corporate world-- fell on its butt, a couple of years back.

Have they learned NOTHING?

Folks, if you have an account with BofA, it's time to close it... and it doesn't matter whether you have deposits above the threshold where you are exempt from the fee.... and here's why: You are being charged for the "Fundamental Cost of Doing Business."

Let me offer some analogies: BofA's debit card fee is like the grocery store charging you 20 cents for running the register, or a house painter charging you $5 because he/she has to use a paint brush, or the utility company charging you $3 a month to read the meter. You wouldn't pout up with that, right?

BofA is a bank. Part of the core of being A Bank includes actions like counting money and having the basic functionality that goes with... well... being a bank.

It reminds me of the 90's when my business bank (BankOne, now Chase) decided it would charge my business (a retail store) $1.50 per $1000 to count cash included in deposits. I closed and moved my accounts (which often had $20,000-$50,000 balances) the next day... even though I was technically above a limit where the fee wouldn't apply to me.

The point being... it wasn't the $1.50 (just like it isn't the debit card fee, itself), but the fact that I was being charged for a bank to perform the core actions of a bank's business.

I'm sorry, if a business-- any business-- is not capable of functioning without charging for its fundamental actions that make that business possible, then it has NO BUSINESS being in business.

To wit, BankOne ceased to exist not long after it started in on a cycle of "fees for everything." By its actions, it would seem BofA is heading into a cycle of its own that may signal the beginning of its end.

The most powerful thing we can do is "vote with our dollars." I have voted with mine: I bank with a regional bank that has been in business-- under the same fundamental ownership-- for 104 years. It doesn't charge me fees, and it even continued to make a profit while all the "Big Corporate" banks were crashing.

Imagine THAT!?!?!

Of course, this bank is very "Un-American" because its management is satisfied with "making a profit" every year, and isn't caught up in the compulsive obsession with "we MUST make more and more profit every year" that drives most of corporate America and the machine of capitalism.

I hope you read this, and agree that this action by BofA (sure to be followed by other large national banks) is simply wrong.

I hope you act, and move your BofA accounts to a local Credit Union (usually fee free) or a regional/local bank that's not "part of the problem" that messed up our financial lives, in the first place. BofA has already been given a second chance, in the form of a bailout with your tax dollars. They (and others) do not deserve a third chance.

But it's not enough to just THINK and SAY "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" You have to ACT on it. Don't be complacent. Don't leave it up to "others" to make a change. Be the change, as Gandhi once said.

At the very least, if you agree with this, share it on your own pages, tweet it, link to it and spread the word...