Bank of America (BofA) Told to Lie.
By W.T. “Bill” McKibben, Senior Counsel, The Great Lakes Group
When an entire sector of our economy -a crucial sector- is handed “Get Out of Jail Free” cards by our federal government, we should not be surprised when they run off the rails. We are talking about the monster, too-big-to-fail banks. It is more than surprising, it’s a miracle that it isn’t any worse than it is. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and its head, Eric Holder, the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the USA, has decided in the case of these banks that he will not enforce the law. He has repeatedly given the monster banks a pass. His rationale is that jailing top banking officials will destabilize the banks and our economy. Shows you how precious little Holder knows about business.
We have the major banks running a muck, fixing interest rates, laundering money for drug cartels and dictators, playing fast and loose with mortgages, ripping off consumers right and left and anything else that comes to their evil little minds. The latest instance is playing out in a Federal Courtroom in Boston where former Bank of America (BofA) workers are lined up to blow the whistle on the warped sickies running this bank. A bank that owes its very existence to the nearly $50 billion we taxpayers handed them to literally keep them afloat following the economic collapse they helped trigger.
In sworn statements BofA expats detail the bank’s efforts to squeeze every dime out of homeowners struggling to hang on to their homes. Bonuses to meet their foreclosure quotas, gift cards, all kinds of incentives to lie and cover up misdeeds designed to line the bank’s pockets with fees and interest before crushing those they should have been helping. And why not? If you get caught and have to pay a fine, it’s peanuts in comparison to the bucks pouring into the bank’s coffers. Just another cost of doing business.
This is not going to stop until we start charging the top executives of these banks and they face jail – that’s what it’s going to take. Attorney General Holder may be a fine lawyer but he clearly doesn’t know squat about business. Executives who allow the kind of behavior that we’ve seen at BofA, HSBC, Chase and the other big banks are lousy business people and lousy leaders. There are lots of honest people waiting in the ranks of these banks, ready and able to lead and build on a proven ethical foundation to produce happy customers. And in case you haven’t noticed, happy customers produce higher profits.
We do need to remove the temptation that allows banks to speculate with their customers’ deposits instead of investing them in our economy. We need the so-called Volker Rule. And we need to break up the monster banks. Take them out of the too-big-to-fail league. All the stuff that the big bankers little helpers’ on “K” Street managed to lobby out of the laws that protected us against bad bankers for decades. However, the first order of business should be the leveling of criminal charges against these arrogant, ignorant punks who have no place leading any business, let alone one in the financial heart of the world economy.