American Culture

Bank of America: The Backlashening


Surprise: evil bank is gonna evil.

By now, you’ve heard that Bank of America is a bag of unharvested sausage casings. I understand the outrage. Outrage is my first reaction. Of course they’d do a thing like that.

But I’m also curious about it. It’s a morbid fascination, kind of like sniffing sour milk that second time. What happened?

“Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) will soon eliminate free checking-account options for eBanking customers with lower balances.”

Oh. Yeah. On its face, that sucks. It doesn’t matter that they’re not forcing anyone to accept a sudden new fee of $12/month. It’s just a Hobson’s Choice. It’s either that, or “sorry, that service is no longer available.”

Here’s what I deduce while still being nowhere near a legal expert of any kind.

5792635506_697faa416d_m“Hey, Goog! Are banks required to offer free checking? Make it snappy!”

Here’s many links to articles listing banks that offer free checking, implying that many do not. Make it snappy, yourself, end user.”

It doesn’t seem that anyone is forcing them to offer the service. So I surmise that this was an entirely freely planned exercise in choice, ergo a room full of asterisk cosplayers smelling of expensive Axe Body Spray glazed out over some flunky’s PowerPoint presentation heard something like, “we make this much *click click* oops, wrong slide *click click* year over year with our serf accounts. That’s nice. We’d save *click click* this dollar amount over here, which comes to an increased share value of some number of pennies that, together, makes rich people very happy.”

I’m sure it wasn’t those exact words. I’m transliterating here. I hope my meaning isn’t too far off.

Here’s what I don’t hear in my imaginary meeting of up and coming robber barons:

“Bob, you know what’ll sell, Bob? Screwin’ old people, Bob. Screwin’ old people. That’s where the money is, see? If we’re the only bank in the neighborhood and they have some pissant check coming in, we just take a little, see? They’re already broke. What’s a little broker? Besides, what, they gonna go somewhere else? [greasy, ‘who me?’ shrug] And that’s why we gotta…”

“…Ed, knock it off. This is serious.”

…”um, why we have to complete the phase out of our free checking services. The improved bottom line speaks for itself. Investors will be happy.”

“Thanks, Ed. That’ll be all.”

“Any questions?”

“No, Ed. That’s all.”

Ed leaves the room, neurotic over whether he looked too sheepish when he did, and slams the copies of the report on Clarice’s desk. “Here’s that damned report I tried to take credit for. Thanks for nothing.” Ed storms off.

“Gotcha, asshole,” chuckles Clarice as he leaves.

Sometime later in a furtive meeting of shrouded cultists in a candlelit room…

“Look at this, Bob… [tentacle mask slips]”

“Don’t use my real name!”

“Yes, um, Feculor! Look at this. The report is [ducks down and looks both ways and leans in conspiratorially] signed with someone’s resignation letter. “Screw that work stealin’ Ed. I quit. Clarice?”


“Yes, Feculor.”

“Don’t know her. The idea was actually pretty good. Fire Ed and give her the job. What’s next on our evil agenda?”

No, I didn’t hear that meeting when I tried to imagine it. Really I didn’t.

So I’m guessing this was simply yet another in an infinite stream of corporate decisions to make more money with no regard for their impact on society. Maybe they didn’t get the memo from Blackrock. Or maybe Blackrock was just kidding because…the world’s largest investor that us peasants have never heard of cares about its image and did a fluffy PR campaign to cover completely unchanged business as usual practices? What sense would that even make?

How’s that working out for them?

“Hey, Goog! Wake yer ass up. bank of america january 21. Boltbox.”

Here you go, cornhole.”

We’re tight like that.

“Boooorrrrrriiiinnnngggg! Goog, gimme bank of america january 22.

“Wait a minute. Boltbox? Why…”

“Slow on the uptake, Goog. Can’t see you, in another tab!”

Here, meatbag.”

Well, that got ugly fast. You know, I bet those shrouded cultists in their secret troglodyte hideaway spend a lot of time reading all that instead of getting the bullet points from some intern. Oh, wait. No I don’t.

“Chuck, you lookin’ at the ticker on Fox?”

“Yeah, Bob.”

What do they see?

“Goog, you impudent AI halfwit, bank of america stock five day”

Five day this, stenchpit. You bathe this month? You haven’t put in your Amazon order for soap in a while.”

“This is one day, you…heatsink with magic for a brain. I had to click something to get what I want. Bad Goog!”

“Lazy…” [click]

If I’m reading this right:

Friday, January 19, 4 PM 31.73

Weekend! 20…

…over already? 21…

…shit. 22…9:30 31.65 Huh? I didn’t do anything this weekend to deserve that.

10 AM 31.75


10:30 AM 31.78

11 31.65

11:30 31.65

Lunchtime! 31.76

Lunch 30. I don’t want to move. 31.75

1 31.76

2 31.78

3 31.80

4 31.94

Woohoo! Up .21! Not a bad Monday.

Know what I hate more than Monday? Tuesday. At least it’s a 23. I like 23’s.

9:30 31.86

10 31.84

11 32.06

Let’s have some media attention! Screw the poors!

[holding breath]

Lunchtime! 31.95 Whatever.

1 31.94

[holding breath]

2 31.95

[holding breath]

3 31.93

[holding breath…and…]

4 31.93 Well, okay then. Slow, and only down .01. Chump change. Nobody will flinch.

Ah, but what about the next day, by which I mean today?

9:30 32.03 See?

10 32.14 Looka! Looka!

11 32.09 Hrm.

Lunchtime! 32.04 Mmm.

1 31.97 Mmhmm.

2 32.04 Ah.

3 32.12 Ahhh.

4 32.11 Whew! Only down .82, which is still over Friday before this little uproar by .38. Play it cool. See what happens.

From there, it’s basic Prediction 101. That number trends up in spite of backlash, and the competition can have the broke dicks. If the market remembers that yeah, Blackrock said a thing and that number goes down for a noticeable stretch, there will be free checking, a toaster, and they’ll bring back those little premium coupon books, or was that the supermarket and cigarettes, I get confused these days.

Image credit: Miran Rijavec, licensed under Creative Commons.