A new citizen action site called F the Banks (the F stands for foreclose, I’m told) has kicked off their campaign by taking aim at Bank of America in a series of actions throughout the spring. The first one coincided with Leap Day protests put on by the Occupy movement. At Zuccotti Park, writer Matt Taibbi passed around this article, which I think he wrote exclusively for the event and not for Rolling Stone. It’s a gleeful broadside at BofA.
There are two things every American needs to know about Bank of America.
The first is that it’s corrupt. This bank has systematically defrauded almost everyone with whom it has a significant business relationship, cheating investors, insurers, homeowners, shareholders, depositors, and the state. It is a giant, raging hurricane of theft and fraud, spinning its way through America and leaving a massive trail of wiped-out retirees and foreclosed-upon families in its wake.
The second is that all of us, as taxpayers, are keeping that hurricane raging. Bank of America is not just a private company that systematically steals from American citizens: it’s a de facto ward of the state that depends heavily upon public support to stay in business. In fact, without the continued generosity of us taxpayers, and the extraordinary indulgence of our regulators and elected officials, this company long ago would have been swallowed up by scandal, mismanagement, prosecution and litigation, and gone out of business. It would have been liquidated and its component parts sold off, perhaps into a series of smaller regional businesses that would have more respect for the law, and be more responsive to their customers.
The entire article is a bill of particulars against BofA, a Too Big to Fail bank that Taibbi calls “the biggest welfare dependent in American history,” given the $45 billion in bailout cash it has taken and tens if not hundreds of billions more in no-interest loans from the Fed and other emergency programs. He highlights BofA’s move of its derivative balance sheet into an FDIC-insured part of the bank, putting taxpayers on the hook for trillions. And he mentions that BofA never keeps its promises, even after being cited for fraud. Take the lawsuit by Nevada and Arizona over BofA ignoring its obligations in the Countrywide settlement, where they delivered just 3% of the loan modifications promised, and indeed actively abused homeowners who had a legal right to the mods.
This is an important point: [cont’d.]