Bank of America seems determined to keep providing fuel to keep the Occupy movement going strong.
You probably recall the bank’s plan to soak its customers by charging them to use their debit cards, which was withdrawn after a torrent of bad press.
Clearly, all is not happy in Bank of Americaland, where the stock has dropped about 50 percent from 2010 levels. Despite being propped up by millions in taxpayer help as well as by Warren Buffet, the bank remains in so much trouble that in September, the bank announced plans to lay off 40,000 employees, mainly in its consumer division.
Who needs those consumers anyway?
It’s not just the bank’s lowly employees that are losing their jobs. A couple of top executives are leaving too, but the bank made sure to cushion the pain of their leaving with millions of dollars in severance and benefits.
The bank was also forced to cut back one of its most prized activities last year, spending a paltry $2.2 million on lobbying last year, down from nearly $5 million before the financial collapse.
You may not have heard about the bank’s latest effort to keep the protestors busy. They’ve decided to put the squeeze on another bunch of customers, this time small-businesses.
Several small-business owners told the Los Angeles Times is now forcing them to pay their balances in full, instead of on a monthly basis, as they used to. This change, the business owners say, could wipe them out.
Meanwhile, a firm that helps small businesses get loans calls Bank of America’s level of small-business lending “a disgrace for the largest bank in the country”.
Ami Kassar, CEO and founder of MultiFunding, says Bank of America ranks 6,128 out of 6,800 based on its small-business lending.
Three years after the financial collapse, Wall Street is still a dysfunctional mess, providing little help for Main Street. Meanwhile, our political leaders, for the most part, show no inclination to correct the mistakes that have gotten us here.