Don’t Occupy Bank of America

Wait, I was wrong about Bank of America trying to shift their shaky Merrill Lynch derivatives off to be covered under the FDIC insurance covering our savings and checking accounts. I wasn’t paying attention. It turns out they have, to the tune of $53.7 trillion.

Don't Occupy Bank of America With Your Money

According to Truthout:

The total amount of derivatives in the FDIC-insured portion of B of A as of mid-year was $53.7 trillion, up 10 percent from $48.9 trillion the prior year, and up nearly 35 percent from its pre-fall crisis level of $40 trillion (the Merrill Lynch securities division holds $22 trillion in addition.) The bank has $5 trillion of credit derivatives, nearly double its $2.7 trillion pre-Merrill amount. In addition, because of its inherent zombie status and rating downgrades, the cost of insuring B of A against a possible default continues to rise in the credit derivatives market – a pattern that American International group (AIG) once followed.

So the FDIC, which is meant to insure safety of our savings and checking, is already being used to cover shaky investments. Fees to customers continue to be raised. I’m kind of shocked that people put up with that, having left WAMU years ago over overdraft fees, back when banks had free checking (without a high minimum), and no monthly debit card fees, or fees for online bill paying. We still have free checking at credit unions, with no monthly debit fee In fact no charge at their own machines for anyone, customer or non customer, and you can use any credit union ATM and many other places, including 7-11s fee-free.

Then, of course, Bank of America throws out people trying to close their bank accounts. They say you can’t close your account if you’re protesting. Wait! Its their money, and they were very polite in asking for it back.

It gets worse.

It is the official bank of the US military and has branches by or on many bases, which provides the firm with another locus of extortion. B of A can entice military personnel to take out loans at usurious rates. Personal loans made to soldiers for a few thousand dollars can actually keep them indebted for the rest of their lives.

Last May, Bank of America paid $22 million to settle charges of improperly foreclosing on active-duty troops. The firm spun these foreclosures as being Countrywide’s fault for having started them before becoming part of B of A.

Pretty outrageous. At our expense. This is why people are Occupying everywhere, and good reasons not to let your funds occupy Bank of America and the other big banks. There are a lot of options with credit unions and community banks, and with credit unions, you’re a co-owner. People run the credit unions, not some corporation.

November 5 has been declared Bank Transfer Day. Maybe its time to consider other options.

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