Bank of America a crime syndicate, says Rolling Stone
Mortgage robo-signing, high user fees and the rapid disappearance of free checking may be the tip of the iceberg for Bank of America, notes Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi. In a recent extensive piece, Taibbi pulls no punches against the controversial banking giant, calling the “too big to fail” bank “a hyper-gluttonous ward of the state whose limitless criminal conspiracies we’ll all be paying for until the end of time.”
Bank of America and the laundry list of deception
It might seem Taibbi simply has an ax to grind, notes Newser. However, he cites numerous examples in his Rolling Stone piece about how there are things working against Bank of America’s reputation and position within the public trust.
“These guys are… systematically ripping off virtually everyone they do business with,” Taibbi writes, “and on top of all that, they completely suck at banking.”
The following are a few of the exhibits of outrage against Bank of America that Taibbi offers into evidence:
- The mortgage crisis. Bank of America and its subsidiaries Countrywide and Merrill Lynch have drawn a great deal of fire for its mortgage lending business. They “pioneered ways to sell their toxic pools of mortgages to suckers,” said Taibbi.
- Tampering with municipal construction bids. According to Taibbi, Bank of America conspired with a conglomerate of other banks to alter the bidding process, a serious offense: “Bank of America routinely conspired with other banks to make sure it paid low prices for the privilege of managing the moneys of various cities and towns,” he wrote.
- Scams targeting disabled, minorities and the financially disadvantaged. Violations of the Fair Housing Act involving asking for proof of disability, pushing subprime loans on Hispanics and charging high fees on prepaid debt cards for the unemployed have drawn federal ire.
- Bank of America shirked its responsibility regarding required local fees. According to Taibbi, one county in Texas has estimated that Bank of America owes it more than $100 million in unpaid local fees. “Think of that next time your county leaves a road unpaved,” he writes.
Law of the land as ‘personal urinal cake’
Taibbi goes on to categorize many more ways in which Bank of America has damaged the public trust and asserts without possibility of being mistaken for engaging in hyperbole that the banking behemoth has behaved like a crime syndicate.
“So what does the government do about a rogue firm like this, one that … generally treats the law like its own personal urinal cake?” he asks. “Bail it out, of course. The bank has availed itself of innumerable federal assistance programs, and it’s still barely keeping itself afloat, as its many victims clamor for recompense.
“The government remains creepily committed to their survival, like overindulgent parents who refuse to believe their 40-year-old live-at-home son could possibly be responsible for those dead hookers in the backyard.”
US banks ‘almost synonymous with criminal syndicates’