Bank of America Spoof Website Shows the Joke Is on Us

Bank of AmericaPranksters got the better of Bank of America recently, but the facts highlighted by the prank won't leave you laughing.

Just one day before Bank of America (BAC) released its most recent earnings report, the activist group "Yes Men" launched a fake Bank of America website called "Your Bank of America." These merry pranksters aimed to show that, despite massive bailouts funded by American taxpayers, bank executives are still putting their own interests above those of their customers. So, the joke's on us, they argue, for continuing to tolerate such behavior.

The Your Bank of America website contains a spoof letter from CEO Brian Moynihan acknowledging that the bank no longer works for the market or the people. And it has Moynihan sanctimoniously declaring, "Our Bank may, in fact, soon need help keeping afloat -- and much as in 2008, you, the American taxpayer, will be asked to provide that assistance."

The letter and the website go on to outline a number of the bank's risks and failings, including:
  • The need to pay $8.58 billion in relief to borrowers and $3.24 billion in fines.
  • Lawsuits filed by citizens, state and local governments, and other companies.
  • A petition to break up the bank.
  • A foreclosure crisis the bank helped create.
  • Investments in unpopular markets like coal, despite the dangers of climate change.
  • Huge declines in the company's shares.
  • Possible need for future bailouts.
More strikingly, the letter also asserts that Bank of America continues to engage in the same behavior that caused the current economic crisis, and that created the need for financial rescue from the government in 2008.

Turning the Tables

In an interview on RT.com, Yes Man Andy Bichlbaum claimed that the main goals of the Bank of America project are:
  • To make people realize that most of them "have better ideas about what banking should do than the people who actually run the banks."
  • To "get people talking about banking" and "to trade ideas about how banking should be."
So the Yes Men are soliciting ideas on the site. Here are a few of the more popular ones:
  • "I want my bank to not lock me into financial products or pressure me to invest in something I don't want."
  • "I want my bank to have total transparency in investing."
  • "Your chief executives would never make more than 100 times the salary of your lowest-paid workers."
  • "I want my bank to lay out all potential charges on my card usage and accounts to be in a clear and understandable term sheet before any charges are incurred."
  • "No more 'overdraft' nonsense on card purchases. Just reject the transaction."
  • "I want my bank to obey the law."
The Bigger Picture

In his RT interview, Bichlbaum made it clear that the goal isn't to single out B of A. Plenty of other banks, including Wells Fargo (WFC), Citigroup (C), and JPMorgan Chase (JPM), are engaging in behaviors that hurt consumers. "Whether or not Bank of America itself fails ... we kinda don't care," Bichlbaum says. "Whatever the next bank is that fails, we don't want a repeat of 2008 ... there are many, many smart things that banks could do ... and there are many, many stupid things that they do that they could stop doing."


Bichlbaum suggests that the best solution would be to break up these large banks into smaller credit unions that are accountable to local communities. Absent that, he suggests that they should stop predatory lending and make reparations for predatory lending practices that have hurt consumers.

Until then, the Yes Men are concerned that those in charge of the big banks will continue to profit from the ongoing joke that the banks are structured to promote the best interests of consumers.



Motley Fool contributor M. Joy Hayes, Ph.D., is the Principal at ethics consulting firm Courageous Ethics. She owns shares of Bank of America. Follow @JoyofEthics on Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, and has created a covered strangle position in Wells Fargo. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Wells Fargo.




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GoAheadWindMeUp

The Bank of America Cash Rewards Commercial you are using was stolen by BBDO! 2 BIG scallywag, miscreant THIEVES! The song is "You Can't Keep Me From Singing," -- the REAL artist is John Ford of the Strawbs - co writer of "Part of the Union" who NEVER gave permision, got PAID - much less allow his music in advert for BofA! Compare the orig with the ripoff and see for yourself at http://www.amazon.com/You-Cant-Keep-From-Singing/dp/B001AI646U BOA was given a Cease & Desist and refuses to abide. Meanwhile, gave BBDO the boot last week!

May 10 2012 at 2:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wayne Bradshaw

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May 05 2012 at 11:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ha6ai

All the articles by loony-left M. Joy Hayes "Ph.D." are a "joke on us."

AOL/HuffPuff has gone completely over the edge with its numerous anti-American Communist propaganda articles intended to support Obama - by attacking and attempting to demonize American free enterprise and American businesses.

(The "Ph.D" is not in Economics, not in Business, not in anything which provides any education in the subject-matter of these articles. .... Its in "ethics"! Are you kidding? ... And she has the nerve to attack others!)

May 04 2012 at 2:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ha6ai's comment
craigmrfrn

So our American companies set up shop in communist China and you buy the products. Who's is the real anti - American?

May 04 2012 at 2:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ha6ai

All the articles by loony-left M. Joy Hayes "Ph.D." are a "joke on us."

AOL/HuffPuff has gone completely over the edge with its numerous anti-American Communist propaganda articles intended to support Obama - by attacking and attempting to demonize American free enterprise and American businesses.

(The "Ph.D" is not in Economics, not in Business, not in anything which provides any education in the subject-matter of these articles. .... Its in "ethics"! Are you kidding? ... And she has the nerve to attack others!)

May 04 2012 at 2:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
santiamman

Yes, they certainly are continuing to engage in the very same practices that destroyed the economy - and the American taxpayer with it. Did you think sub-prime mortgage abuses had ended? Silly you! I just checked my options 24 hours ago for a possible refi of my home loan. Among the options I was offered were interest-only loans. I kid you not. They will never learn. They will never change unless forced to. They will never be forced to because they buy Congressmen and Presidents. And you and I will bail them out again ........... and again .........and again ..................

May 03 2012 at 8:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
whscms

monihan must go

May 03 2012 at 7:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
epic1976

I'm a robot sent from the future.

May 03 2012 at 1:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
namsue

In my humble opinion Bank of America is a boil on the butt of anyone who is forced to deal with them on any level. They are in charge of a trust left to me and my children by my father so we may all be in the poor house before much longer. The value of the trust has steadly decreased for no other reason than the banks poor management. They spend a fortune on mailings but never explain the losses through their poor management. Yet never have the common courtesy to answer letters. In many cases they don't bother to read the letters. I know this because they will ask a question about something that I just explained in a letter. They have continued to invest in a fund that has steadily lost money for years, they treat my children and me like chattels that don't have enough sense to come in out of the rain. They are rude to deal with and have the longest phone menu known to mankind when trying to find an actual person to speak to to answer a question. I could go on and on but I'm sure anyone reading this gets the idea.

May 02 2012 at 11:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
surffmaster

If I had the free time to do something inane like this I think I would spoof the GSA morons instead, maybe the Secret Service, or perhaps even go higher up.

May 02 2012 at 9:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alavol

Thomas Jefferson with his amazing ability to predict our future said;
"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
Everything that Thomas Jefferson warned about so far has come true and there's a lot more that he predicted would happen and if we fail to study these things that he left for us then we're doomed for sure. Here are a few more things he warns about.
"When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe ." -- Thomas Jefferson
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." -- Thomas Jefferson
"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world." -- Thomas Jefferson
"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." -- Thomas Jefferson
"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government." -- Thomas Jefferson
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson
"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- Thomas Jefferson
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson
"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." -- Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:
"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.

May 02 2012 at 8:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply