Guest Column: America must call out their own banks

Jacob Oller

Well, Bank of America, I think it’s time we had a little chat.

I heard you’re no longer the largest bank in the U.S. thanks to that big bully JPMorgan Chase. But this doesn’t mean you get to lash out toward the people who love you. For years, millions of people have put their trust in you to not lose all of their money if the Great Depression returns. That’s really all you’ve had to do for quite a while. We don’t ask too much of you, just don’t lose our money and don’t make it too painful to get it back from you. I mean, most of us are lazy enough that we’ll put up with some inconvenience, but enough is enough.

You posted $6.2 billion in profit this quarter. And that’s good. Glad to see you back on your feet. Now it’s easy to see that you’re really not hard up for cash, so this would be an excellent opportunity for you to stop screwing over Americans. I mean, with Occupy Wall Street, people are actually calling out banks, investment firms and ratings agencies on their terrible business practices.

See, here’s an issue right here: People who give ratings to business or investments shouldn’t be paid by those business or people who own those investments. OK?

Can you see why we’re all a bit peeved about this, Bank of America? If a company is selling me a TV, and I decide to ask people what they think of the TV, I’d like to hear if it’ll explode when I plug it in or if it comes to life if I watch it after 10 p.m., rather than have some sponsored lies thrust at me.

But I digress. Bank of America, your profits are great, but this means that the new fees you’ve decided to push onto people with your debit cards are completely unnecessary. For those readers who aren’t aware, there will be a monthly $5 fee to have a debit card with Bank of America. This new way to charge for a previously free service comes as a response to reforms brought to Wall Street by the Dodd-Frank Act, which reduced how much banks can charge retailers due to debit card swipes.

And as college students, banks are constantly after our money anyway. Be wary, everyone, and do your research. If you’re like me, you probably don’t have the $20,000 or so in the bank that exempts you from these fees, so you may think about switching out.

With $6.2 billion in profits this quarter, it’s not like we should feel upset for them. There’s absolutely no reason to stand for these fees. Never mind that Bank of America also plans to cut 10 percent (or 30,000) of its employees and close to 10 percent of its branches. Nah, don’t worry about it guys, America didn’t need those jobs anyway. Oh, wait. And you say the 2,000 people you fired in this wave of layoffs didn’t show up on your $6.2 billion profits, huh? Seems like you really didn’t even need to fire those people. But I’m sure you know what you’re doing.

Bank of America’s CEO Brian Moynihan defended his bank’s new $5 fee on debit cards and the firings, saying that customers understand the bank has a “right to make a profit.” Well, I suppose we understand that profits are the point of a business. But we can also understand that you made a profit separate from the institution of this fee and the firing of 2,000 hardworking Americans. So I hope you’ll understand when we say we have a right to protest.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Daily (via UWIRE)