Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bank of America/MBNA deceptive practices

SEPT 25 2008
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two former employees of credit card issuer MBNA, now owned by Bank of America, said on Wednesday they were forced to use aggressive and deceptive practices with customers in order to boost revenues.

Cate Colombo, from Maine, said she signed up for a customer service job but was instead instructed to make insistent sales pitches aimed at getting MBNA customers deeper into debt.

"I was hired to sell money," she said on a conference call organized by Americans for Fairness in Lending, an advocacy group. "We had a goal of selling $25,000 an hour, $4 million per month. And I was one employee among hundreds, just at this one site."

To meet these goals, Colombo said she was told to turn every regular call from a customer into a sales call. She would do this by running the customer's name through the computer and finding out every possible line of credit they had ever obtained through MBNA.

She would then total the amount of credit outstanding and offer it to the customer as a blank check. MBNA was a bit lighter on disclosure details, such as telling customers that taking on more debt would reduce the borrower's credit score and thereby boost their outstanding interest rates.

"If we didn't attempt to max out, we were considered insubordinate," said Colombo.

Read the full article at

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My first week picketing Bank of America...

Today a week ago is when I started my boycott against the banks, concentrating on Bank of America.

I have put in no less than 3 hours a day with as many as 5 hours, as time allows.

The photo shows me (yesterday) at W. Charleston Blvd and S. Decatur in Las Vegas Tuesday Sept 23. When you drive past and see me or our supporters, give us a honk and write Bank of America and let them know that you will not use ANY of their services until they stop screwing the public.

Working this past week in front of several B.O.A. banks in Las Vegas, we have been getting a lot of positive feedback, but I have also been given the finger twice and one guy told me to "get a job"! However, we get a lot of support from persons 22-70, but the very young and very old don't seem to care. I guess the younger ones have not been screwed enough by the banks, and the older ones forgot...

Luckily, being self employed allows me to stand in front of these banks and inform the public how badly the banks are ripping them off whether they are a customer or not.

We ask you to Boycott Bank of America and to not support the bank bailout unless consumer safeguards are in place. Given the past track record of banks, they will take our money with no thanks and continue with their abusive policies and fees.

We DEMAND if we give you money to help bail your ass out of your crisis caused by you, that makes us your partner. We demand a stop to excessive fees, questionable accounting practices and abusive policies that you now have in place.

The banks have been working with our money so long that the think they are entitled to it...

The past week I have been putting together our main website, and working on a plan to take our grievances nationwide.

Our website will have resources and information on different banks, and their fees and policies. We are also looking for a bank(s) that treat the public fairly, so we can suggest a better bank for people to move into.

The bottom line is if people don't care and don't take some kind of action, nothing will change and the bank will keep ripping off the public and customers.

We need volunteers around the country to take on the largest bank in America, Bank of America.

One hour a week or one hour a month, donating a small amount of your time will pay you back tenfold if we can get even a part of what we are asking for.

If we can make even small changes to Bank of America fees and policies, the rest of the banks will follow... Working together, we can make a change....


Sunday, September 21, 2008

This is how it started...

On September 16, 2008 around 2:00 p.m I went to Bank of America at 3580 S. Jones Blvd, Las Vegas Nevada to cash a check drawn on their account. I was forced to take the check to the issuing bank (BOA) due to the 10 day hold WaMu placed on all checks for new account holders. Our move to Las Vegas used most of the funds in our Cleveland bank.

I presented the check to the teller who told me she could cash the check, but I would be charged a $6.00 "Service Fee". However, if I opened an account I would not be charged.

I asked to speak to the manager. The manager of the bank told me that since I am not a BOA customer they could cash the check as a courtesy to me as a non-customer, but they would charge $6.00 for this "service".

Note that this was a BOA check written by a BOA customer.

I told her that I would be happy if she could waive the $6.00 fee, but she refused my request twice. I argued that the bank had an obligation to honor the check AT FACE VALUE with no added fees.

I was not going to pay the $6.00 (on an $80.00 check) and I was not going to open an account with a bank that just tried to force me to become a (reluctant) customer!

... It is not the money, but the principle that BOA is charging fees to non-customers to cash their checks and trying to blackmail you into opening an account that forced me into action!

Instead of paying the $6.00 fee, I went out and bought $50.00 in domains to alert the public and work to change Bank of America tactics, policies, and fees

While talking with my bank (Washington Mutual-WaMu) I was told they do not charge non-customers to cash a WaMu check written to them with proper identification. This is the way banking was in the past and should be like today.

This site will now advise the public on how Bank of America does business and ask everyone to find a more consumer friendly bank until BOA changes their unfair practices and policies.

The public demands:

  • Check reconciliation from lowest to highest dollar value
  • Sliding NSF Fees - No $35.00 Fees on a .60 cent overdraft (example)
  • No unauthorized overdraft loans without customer consent . Clearly marked opt in/opt out
  • No charges for non-customers to cash BOA checks.

This boycott of BOA is the only way to start changing the banking industry and the million-dollar lobbyists paid to keep the high fees that banks now charge.

Please show your support by joining the boycott!

Visit our Bank of America Boycott website and help us stop bank rippoffs!

Thank you,

Robert G. Seketa