Bank of America has a long list of dubious distinctions:
But there is hope on the horizon. In its never-ending quest to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, the Occupy movement will be converging on corporate HQ in Charlotte, NC tomorrow for the bank's annual shareholder meeting. Smaller protests are being held at branches throughout the country. For an anti-BofA event near you, check out this site.
It's painfully obvious that the Obama Administration is never, ever going to clamp down on this monstrosity of a financial institution. The president will even be rubbing our noses in it by giving his DNC acceptance speech at Bank of America stadium this September. Meanwhile, the Justice Department has assigned a measly 55 investigators to pretend to look into the malfeasance of BofA and the other too big to exist financial crime cabals.
If you have not yet read the seminal takedown of BofA by Matt Taibbi, you can find it here. An excerpt:
So what does the government do about a rogue firm like this, one that inflates market-wrecking bubbles, commits mass fraud and generally treats the law like its own personal urinal cake? Well, it goes without saying that you rescue that "admitted felon" at all costs – even if you have to spend billions in taxpayer money to do it.
In fact, the real bailouts of Bank of America didn't even begin until well after TARP. In the years since the crash, the bank has issued more than $44 billion in FDIC-insured debt through a little-known Federal Reserve plan called the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program. The plan essentially allows companies whose credit ratings are fucked to borrow against the government's good name – and if the loans aren't paid back, the government is on the hook for all of it. Bank of America has also stayed afloat by constantly borrowing billions in low-interest emergency loans from the Fed – part of $7.7 trillion in "secret" loans that were not disclosed by the central bank until last year. When the data was finally released, we found out that, on just one day in 2008, Bank of America owed the Fed a staggering $86 billion.
That means that when you take out a credit card or a mortgage or a refinancing from Bank of America, you're essentially borrowing from the state; the "private" bank is simply taking a cut as a middleman. "For banks, the cost of capital is the key to success," says former New York governor Eliot Spitzer. "So by lowering their cost of capital to almost zero, the Fed has almost guaranteed that the banks will make big profits."European governments are actually starting to fall because of the austerity measures imposed on the victims of global banking rapacity. The Profits over People meme is universal and is being rejected on a worldwide scale. We have, it seems, reached the tipping point.
Meanwhile, while Bank of America has been the cause of a whole series of unfortunate events, the City of Charlotte has declared its Shareholder Meeting an "extraordinary event" -- meaning that the cabal-coddling government is making sure that bank execs don't get their feelings hurt by irate protesters. Writes Allison Kilkenny of The Nation:
....the city plans to restrict free speech and expand the ability of police and security forces to target and profile the homeowners, worker, community members, students and immigrants who plan to demand justice from one of the largest banks in the country.
The label tightens restrictions on what protesters are allowed to do at such events and gives police more power to search people's property (backpacks, coolers, etc.) in the vicinity. Certain items, such as scarves, are now banned from the event, and the possession of items like markers, hammers and spray paint is now grounds for arrest.
The extraordinary event tag's origins date back to a city ordinance enacted in January in anticipation of the Democratic National Convention, to be held in Charlotte in September.
Thus far, it seems like the unprecedented measure adopted by the City Manager has done little to ebb the tide of protester enthusiasm.Bank of America obviously thinks it is impervious. Right in the middle of the national uproar over its corrupt practices, it just started sending out letters to homeowners offering financial relief on properties it probably doesn't even own. This is to game the recent terms of the financial settlement with the Attorneys General, reducing the amount of the paltry fine it agreed to pay in lieu of prosecution of its rampant foreclosure fraud. Dave Dayen of Firedoglake has the whole tawdry tale.