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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lacking Grace

I got my Bank of America credit card bill last week. I had had a balance of $54.01, and I paid it off. Or so I thought. I get the bill and I have a balance of $1.50. I figured that, damn, I must have miscalculated the payment, maybe transposed some digits. Nope. I'm now being given the privilege of paying a buck and a half per month as a "Minimum financial charge." I did not notice this in the ream of papers that BoA had sent me recently to keep me informed of my "protections" in light of the new credit card legislation, before which they hiked my credit card rate. (Which is only one of the reasons I always pay it off in full.)

Now, I never actually applied for a Bank of America card. It's in my possession because BoA, in its acquisitive phase, bought the bank I DID have a credit card with. So I'm not feeling a great deal of loyality for these folks. Still, I have over a quarter of my credit with them. And, as I've noted, all of it available. Well, except for $1.50.

Then last weekend, I watched The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from earlier in the week. His guest was Jim Wallis, the editor in chief of Sojourners magazine, which is a "progressive Christian commentary on faith, politics and culture. It seeks to build a movement of spirituality and social change."

Wallis, who was touting his book Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street, explained that the bonuses paid out this year - $150 billion from six banks - could "erase the budget gap in all 50 states", or prevent or postpone foreclosures until 2012. But these bonuses are a symptom of a larger problem: the erosion of underlying values. He says "we won't get an economic recovery without a moral recovery" as well.

But what really struck me was his notion that the banks, such as BoA, had been offered grace by the US government, and by extension, by the American people. The response by the large financial institutions, Wallis noted, has been a distinct lack of grace. So, Jim Wallis fired his bank, Bank of America.

With BoA nickle and diming (and six quartering) its customers like that, I can do nothing but the same. Goodbye, Bank of America.

Watch the clip here.

"Higher standards," indeed.



Greg said...

Krys works for Bank of America, so it's kind of difficult for us to fire them, although I wouldn't mind. She gets all kinds of employee perks that make it worth staying with them. However, they did screw up and start charging us a fee for the kind of account we have because they thought it was a kind that needed a minimum balance of $10,000, even though it wasn't. We had to call to get that fixed. The practices of the banks and credit card companies makes me angry because they embed all these odd things in the fine print, counting on people not to read them. I agree with Wallis, though, and wish people in power had some cajones to do something about it.

Prats said...

That was an inspiring post .. inspiring to teach u can fire d system that dsnt wrk acc to your moral ! thanks fr sharing :)

Ann said...

Now be a good boy and choke up heaps of credit card expenses, that way, you help generate the economy. LOL, that was what we were told once upon a time.

I do use my credit card, but I make sure we pay on time.

During this trip to Australia, I told Sam that this is probably the last time he will want to travel with his mum. We went to many theme pakrs and we choke up heaps, and I hope my husband won't have a fit when he sees the bill.

Teresa said...

It's illegal to loanshark except for banks. I can't believe the charges they have added and interest rate hikes since they are so afraid of these new rules. I don't see anything but gains for the banks not the comnsumers being protected. I wish I could pay mine off pronto but it will take a bit of time especially now that they steal more money from us now than ever. Talk about keeping people in the hampster wheel and I am afraid it will only get worse. I strongly agree with you on this subject! Can you tell?

Uthaclena said...

I don't believe that it would be oxymoronic to refer to these sort of practices as "legal theft."