Who’s my hero this morning? Bank of America. I should leave my bank!

Via Waylon Lewis
on Mar 10, 2010
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An end to the $40 cup of coffee.

I’ve been a good customer of my current biz bank for years. 7.5 years, to be exact. In that time, the account’s gone to zero twice. Call it cash flow problems, or call it my bad—in both incidences elephant was charged more than $400 in overdraft fees. Both times I tried to fill out overdraft protection (and we’ve tried other times) and both times the process dragged out and then, no surprise (being at zero), elephant was declined.

Every charge—say our $5 a month auto payment to what-have-you—resulted in a new $35 charge. Nearly in tears, frustrated, I’d plead with them: “I’ve been a good customer, this is when I need you to back me up!” They calmly asked if I’d like to transfer my personal account over, too (no kidding) and said I could talk with a manager. The manager shrugged and said, “sorry.” I said, “well, as soon as we’re able, we’ll leave.” He shrugged again. Almost as bad as dealing with Verizon, or AT&T.

In Washington DC, pressure has been building to stop these overdraft charges, which banks love. They get much of their revenue from it. But this morning Bank of America beat our politicians to the door of fairness and reform:

bank of america overdraft


“What our customers kept telling me is ‘just don’t let me spend money that I don’t have,’ ” said Susan Faulkner, the bank’s deposit and card product executive, who said the overdraft changes were part of a broader push to build trust among its customers. “We wanted to help them avoid those unexpected overdraft fees.”

Last year alone, banks generated about $20 billion from overdraft fees on debit purchases and A.T.M. transactions, and $12 billion more by covering checks and recurring bills, according to Moebs Services, an economic research firm.

But as reports surfaced of customers incurring hundreds, even thousands, in overdraft fees, often for purchases of just a few dollars like a cup of coffee, regulators and lawmakers stepped in. As of July 1, the Federal Reserve will require that banks obtain a customer’s consent before they can charge them overdraft fees for A.T.M. transactions and debit purchases; many banks now automatically enroll customers.

In anticipation of the new Fed rule, some banks have begun marketing campaigns to encourage their customers to opt in to overdraft protection to keep the dollars flowing.

Read the whole bit, here. Good on ya, Bank of America!


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom


17 Responses to “Who’s my hero this morning? Bank of America. I should leave my bank!”

  1. mike says:

    The giant monster banks do a lot of things that are wrong. This is a step in the right direction for BofA

  2. Jim says:

    Try Colorado State Bank & Trust. I switched to them several years ago after dealing with Wells Fargo and their games to screw customers over. CSBT has been excellent! And wow, they actually greet you by your name when you walk in! In ten years at Wells Fargo I was lucky to even get a hello or thank you half the time.

  3. Mary says:

    It doesn't matter if BofA calculated this move. The point is that if we, the customers, show support for the gesture by moving our accounts, other banks will hear our voice and follow suit. My bank recently charged me $700 in overdraft fees, never called to see what all the out of town charges were and I have over 8 accounts with my bank! I will move instantly to another bank. And choosing BofA will be a vote for the end of these ridiculous charges! We can move our accounts elsewhere as other banks end their shangriLa.

  4. Alex says:

    I’ll second the local credit union suggestion.

    I’m reasonably happy with Boulder Valley CU. Dawn is even happier with Elevations, and I’ll probably switch over to them at some point.

  5. caleb says:

    totally with you all there on banking locally. even if charged a fee, at least you can rationalize/fictionalize it by pointing out something in the community and say "ah, that's where my $30 went! ok. nice."


  6. shakti says:

    Bank of america is the DEVIL–hardest bank to deal with. offers least and worst loan modifications–(for mortgage holders out there). gov't / troubled homeowners/ consumer nonprofits all know this. bofa is the most hard-as*ed bank–no mercy for consumers, economy, government.
    the more likely reason for this move (in the works anyway via a banking reform bill i believe) is to try and soften the bad
    rep they have as the DEVIL.
    BTW, personal note, for mr waylon lewis: please, please do not let the likes of BofA take any more of your money than they need to ever again. why do i have this gut feeling that you have been paying the $3.50 service fee to withdraw from an ATM that is not your bank's? the banking industry makes about $6B a year on those service fees (on top of the gazillions they already made charging overdraft fees).

  7. don says:

    Band of America or any other large bank will NEVER get my biz again. NEVER!

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