Bank of America’s website says they prefer you close your account by letter. So they’re getting a letter, and here it is.
For lack of scanner at the occupation, these are stitched-together webcam photos. Scroll past each photo for the text version.
Dear Bank of America,
As per your preference, I am hand-writing you with a ballpoint pen in regards to terminating my account. You may ask why I should do such a thing, but perhaps you already know. The reason for this letter is simply that I know too much.
I first chose Bank of America in 2008, while I was living in Florida briefly. I liked you so much that upon my return to New York state, I went through the trouble of opening a New York account. We were young, careless. But perhaps a bit too careless.
Bank of America, I wish I could look past how you’ve changed. You were ”too big to fail” in a nation where size matters. But you did fail. You failed me, and you failed so many who trusted you.
When the government bailed you out of a financial catastrophe, you promised you’d get better. You swore to me, to everyone, that you’d make things right again. And we believed you, because you did fun things like letting us put neat pictures on our debit cards.
But it only got worse from there.
”I’ll create jobs!” you told us. I guess you meant you’d create them overseas. You could have mentioned that, you know. You paid back your bailout loans, with interest. You smiled and donated to communities. Though times were rough, your profits were higher than ever.
Little did we know that those profits came from those you chose to bully. When I read you’d been foreclosing on homes of people who had never missed a payment, I didn’t want to believe it. ”No,” I told myself. ”My bank wouldn’t do that.” It hurt me to know that you’d been dishonest with me, but it hurt me even more to hear the stories of your victims.
You ruined their lives, Bank of America. These people had families, responsibilities. You used our trust to manipulate the judicial system. You stole the homes of people who make less in a year than Brian Moynihan makes in a day. You became an unrecognizable monster, B of A.
Maybe you’ve forgotten when it’s like to be human. After all, Capitalism is about clawing your way to the top — but at any expense?
That’s where a moral question comes in. Did you mean to hurt these people? Are you that far removed from the identity of the human race? I don’t know. My government tells me corporations are people, but clearly, that can’t be true. People can’t do what you did. And people can be put in jail. Where could we possibly jail you, Bank of America?
For years, you and your fellow corporations have had a large hand in legislative matters. You knew just how to change the rules to make the game easier for yourselves. Perhaps you call this Capitalistic Democracy, but I call it Oligarchy.
But even with all the legislative influence you possessed, you failed to pass a law allowing you to seize the homes whose original mortgages weren’t even yours. Then, you did just that. Most American prisoners committed crimes against one victim, or sometimes none. But your crimes robbed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of their entire homes. And we have no prison big enough for you, so what do we do when you’re found guilty? Make you pay a portion of your ill-gotten profit? Not even drug dealers have that option.
Bank of America, you and I both know that you’re not really a bank. You’re an investment firm that gives loans to people you sometimes hope won’t be able to pay you back. Most people don’t know that when they deposit money into their accounts, you take that money and gamble with it on Wall Street. By the way — you have a gambling problem, but that’s a topic for another time.
But people are beginning to learn your tactics. If that worries you, there’s good reason. I’d even go so far as to wager (something you’re fond of) that the majority of Americans would appreciate a repeal of the Citizens United case, if they knew what it was. And hundreds of thousands of us are explaining it to news cameras every day from our occupation tents. Those who were fortunate enough to avoid your mistreatment are becoming wise.
I hope that someday soon, corporate interests like your own will no longer be the loudest voice in our political system. And we’re working on it, twice as hard as you’re working to retain your power.
It must be nice, Bank of America. After Glass-Steagall moved out, you were free to invest whatever you wanted, wherever you wanted, without even letting us know. The repeal of Glass-Steagall was a mistake, because it’s clear now that you can’t be trusted with much responsibility. And once the judges find you guilty, maybe we’ll have another visit from that age-old regulatory banking act. It’s sad that a grown corporation like yourself needs a babysitter to stay out of trouble.
I suppose I should admit this now, before you hear it from someone else: I’ve joined a credit union. They’re not as big as you are, but that’s kind of what I like about them. They work in the interest of their members, not investors. Their lobby offers free light and dark roast coffee, and they gave me the cutest miniature water bottle on my first visit! Oh B of A, they’re wonderful! I never thought banking could be so exciting. They sent me four free checkbooks yesterday, and they even reimbursed me for the ATM fee you charged for withdrawing at their branch.
One of your representatives spoke at a Los Angeles City Council meeting recently, and I was in attendance. He told the council, ”You need banks.” If only he had known about credit unions! They deal with local government, too!
Bank of America, I hope you take something from this letter. I know this isn’t the first break-up you’ve endured, and I’m confident there are many more to come. But I hope my note finds you well. I really want to see you get better. We all do. But maybe your wake-up call will only come when you’ve been held accountable for your gargantuan mistakes.
Please close my accounts, numbers ________________ and send the remaining funds by check to _____________________.
I’m sorry it had to end this way. I hope you understand my decision.