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Is Bank of America a Good Bank?

Updated on November 3, 2014


There are so many banks out there it's hard to distinguish between them all. However, when I started looking into the stock price of certain banks it became glaringly apparent that Bank of America had some very real problems. So, as is my nature, I decided to delve a little deeper...this is what I discovered.

The History of Bank of America

Bank of America is the largest bank in the United States at $2.3 trillion in assets. The largest bank in the entire world is the Royal Bank of Scotland at 3.8 trillion dollars. Bank of America began as the Bank of Italy in San Francisco in 1904 by Amadeo Giannini. He started it to assist immigrants that were otherwise turned down by established banking institutions.. He was raised by the Fava/Stanghellini family after his father was shot dead while trying to collect on a $10.00 debt. The original bank was located in a saloon directly across from the Columbus Savings and Loan. After the San Francisco earthquake Amadeo was one of the few bankers able to rescue his money from the flames. He immediately started giving out loans to anyone who would use the money to help rebuild the city. In 1928 he merged the Bank of Italy with the Bank of America in Los Angeles. Giannini helped nurture the motion picture and wine industries in California. According to Wikipedia he loaned Walt Disney the funds to produce Snow White, the first full-length, animated movie to be made in the US. During the Great Depression, he bought the bonds that financed the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. During World War II, he bankrolled industrialist Henry Kaiser and his enterprises which supported the war effort. After the War, he visited Italy and arranged for loans to help rebuild the war-torn Fiat factories. Giannini also gave capital to William Hewlett and David Packard to help form HP or Hewlett-Packard. In 1958 the bank created the BankAmericard which later became Visa. Through many purchases and mergers Bank of America has grown to be the largest bank in America today.

Current Issues with Bank of America

Although Bank of America began with such good intentions at some point the giant corporation seemed to have lost its way. In 2010, according to Wikipedia the bank was accused by the US federal government of defrauding schools, hospitals, and dozens of state and local government organizations via misconduct and illegal activities involving the investment of proceeds from municipal bond sales. As a result, the bank agreed to pay $137.7 million, including $25 million to the Internal Revenue service and $4.5 million to state attorneys general, to the affected organizations to settle the allegations.

Former bank official Douglas Campbell pleaded guilty to antitrust, conspiracy and wire fraud charges. As of January 2011, other bankers and brokers are under indictment or investigation

On January 16th 2009 Bank of America received a 20 billion dollar bail-out from TARP (the troubled asset relief program) with an additional 188 billion for potential losses to the company. Bank of America had already received 25 billion in 2008 from TARP. According to a March 15, 2009, article in The New York Times, Bank of America received an additional $5.2 billion in government bailout money, channeled through American International Group. Bank of America announced that it completed the repayment of all $45 billion dollars on December 9th 2009. How they did it I don't know.

Today, Bank of America appears to be fraught with problems, the stock price is at an all time low of around $8.00, Warren Buffet recently infused B of A with another 5 billion dollar bail-out, they are being sued for misrepresenting the quality of their mortgages and complaints about shady practices are at an all time high.

While most of us have heard about the notorious crime committed by Bank of America which involved the foreclosing on a home that Bank of America didn't even own, not very many know about the shenanigans and fraudulent practices Bank of America customers are accosted with on a daily basis.

Real examples of complaints can be seen at www.Consumeraffairs.com by Bank of America customers and are but the tip of the ice-berg. They include paying bills online early so that the customer is charged an overdraft fee and then refusing to reverse the fee; paying an auto loan using Bank of America's online transfer service but having the payment skipped by Bank of America thereby incurring late charges; having the online bill pay system fail to register bills paid or paying them twice and then getting the run around when customers tried to get the situation cleared up and taking up to 11 days to have money refunded that was taken out of customers accounts without permission to name a few.

Like I said these are but the tip of the ice-berg when it comes to complaints against Bank of America. While I realize that switching banks is a big pain in the a** due to automatic withdrawals and direct deposits it would seem to me that if you haven't had any trouble with Bank of America it is only a matter of time!

What Bank do you Bank with?

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    • A Little TRUTH profile image

      A Little TRUTH 

      7 years ago

      Yes, Satori, BitCoin would have been raided by SWAT teams a long time ago – if BitCoin was somewhere, but it’s nowhere and everywhere. Maybe they’re working on infiltrating or crashing it.

      Re. P2P lending: That’s pretty bad when people can loan hard earned money and compete with banks that loan money created on the spot from nothing. Take the pens away from the bankers and they will be homeless due to their inability to do anything productive.

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      7 years ago from Manhattan

      I wasn't aware but I'm not surprised.

    • Satori profile image

      Satori 

      7 years ago from California

      Psst! Were you aware of this? http://bloom.bg/bqGMmf

      Interesting that we have American banks financing Mexican gangs, and it's the violence of Mexican gangs that's been used so often to make the argument for the U.S. bricking up the border with Mexico. I guess it's true when they say that nothing in politics happens by accident. Now if only they could come up with a justification for why they're sealing the border with Canadia, that withstands two seconds of careful thought. Still, I suppose in an emergency people could always -stifles laughter- take a plane out of the country.

      Peer-to-peer lending had the banks freaking out a few years back. There's really no reason to get loans from banks when peers on the internet can collectively fund a loan for you on far better terms.

      If they were freaking out with P2P lending, I have to wonder what they're doing now that BitCoin is out. It's an anonymous, internet-based, fee-free system for transferring money. It's cryptographically-encoded, and run on a decentralized peer-to-peer network so it can't easily be shut down. A word to the wise. =)

      Be well,

      - Satori

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      7 years ago from Manhattan

      Any win against a bank is a fine thing!

    • A Little TRUTH profile image

      A Little TRUTH 

      7 years ago

      According to MSNBC, BoA has discussed cutting 40,000 employees, or 14%, due to the slowing economy and “a slew of mortgage-related losses and lawsuits”. (They have already cut 6,000 jobs this year.)

      The people are fighting back in court AND WINNING! (I was one of them, but it was with Charter One Bank.)

    • profile image

      tinygreen 

      7 years ago

      you are so very welcome, Brie.

      we all need to expose this banks as the machines of tyranny that they are.

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      7 years ago from Manhattan

      Wow, Tinygreen, thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      tinygreen 

      7 years ago

      boa had made announcement during hurricane ike that if you had no power you could call and delay your payment.

      we had no power for 12 days. i called them to tell them ny CU had no power and i would pay as soon as the CU was running again.

      i was shouted at and made to feel like a criminal. they told me they didn't care that we had no power, i should get a family member to make my payment. i asked,'what about the radio ads that said if you had no power, boa would let you pay when the power came back on?' the man told me that it didn't matter what the radio had said, i needed to make my payment now.

      i was at 4.9% when i made the call. when the power came back on, my account had no credit and i was being charged 29.9% retroactive on all charges. i almost fainted. i had less than $4000 in charges that suddenly went to me owing over $10,000.

      i told them to kiss my ass and i would not make any further payments. after months of trying to deal with them, my account went to collections.

      i changed my phone number(i needed to anyway for personal reasons) and i have had no further contact with them.

      fuck BOA and their greedy and high-handed tactics.

    • felicitylovespari profile image

      felicitylovespari 

      7 years ago

      I like it for the most part. I dislike when they charge fees for literally everything they can possibly think of. But they are a giant and in most cities so I stay somehow....

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      7 years ago from Manhattan

      Thanks for sharing "A Little TRUTH".

    • A Little TRUTH profile image

      A Little TRUTH 

      7 years ago

      Yes, I had a weird problem with BoA. They absconded with a wire transfer, saying that it didn't exist. But that was after I made a withdrawal, so the account went negative by their action. I don't bother with them anymore. I think the lady in the video is NOT an isolated incident as BoA claims.

      You mention that BoA has $2.3 trillion in assets. Does that mean they also have $2.3 trillion in liabilities? I think it has to according to the way they do accounting - so they really don't have anything. Same with all banks.

      Enjoyed the foreclosure video too. Yes, there is so much blatant foreclosure fraud that even many attorneys are willing to go against the banks – even with class action suits.

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      7 years ago from Manhattan

      Wow Cindih: I don't know if they are just completely incompetent or knowingly fraudulent.

    • profile image

      cindih 

      7 years ago

      Hi Brie! Two and a half months ago I brought my mortgage current with BOA after 6 months of negotiating a modification, which is total bull$#%@. I recently received another foreclosure notice even tho I paid 26,000+ to reinstate my loan, After which I received a notice that I overpaid and got a refund check. THEY ARE DRIVING ME INSANE

      and no one seems to care!!!!

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      7 years ago from Manhattan

      Thanks for commenting breakfastpop, I was beginning to think no one was reading this :)

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      7 years ago

      Okay, I am convinced that you are right. Thanks.

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