In many respects, it's not suprising that Bank of America just got stung for a $8.5 billion settlement...
The Wall Street Journal notes that the bank is close to an $8.5 billion settlement with a bunch of high powered investors who were burned by BOA in the mortgage backed securities market.
Bank of America was deemed a bank that was "too big too fail." When President Bush, Hank Paulson, and Ben Bernanke put together the first Wall Street bailout of $700 billion, it was a move designed to reward bad behavior among big banks.
BOA has the money in their pockets to pay for bad behavior. If a Main Street company, without taxpayer bailout money, had behaved as badly, they wouldn't be getting off for $8.5 billion, they would be shutting down.
Instead Bank of America rolls on, picking up Merrill Lynch along the way.
A small story from last year tells me that Bank of America is never going to "get it." Billion dollar settlement or not.
Last year, a Bank of America call center "tantalized" their employees. They offered Burger King Whoppers to workers as a reward for hitting a quota, while peddling Bank of America products.
The people were employed in a "customer service" call-in center. They were supposed to be helping people with problems, not giving a sales pitch.
This incident sums up everything that is wrong with the financial system in America.
Bank of America is a "too big to fail" Wall Street bank that received bailout money from the American taxpayers. They hit the jackpot twice as they got more bailout money when they purchased Merrill Lynch.
It then used bailout money to "encourage" their employees to sell products to people who were looking for assistance.
People who work their way through a Wall Street bank's "customer service" maze aren't looking for a sales pitch, they are looking for help.
Note that Bank of America didn't offer incentives for employees helping customers solve their problems. They only offered the Whoppers to people pushing products.
If you want food, make a sale.
Actually, the entire sales team had to make their quota in order to get food.
According to the Huffington Post, "a flier provided by a former employee of the call center, which only takes incoming calls, says that if 'each person on your team gets 2 Sales, everyone on the team will get to choose 1 item from the Dollar menu at Burger King and receive next day.' "
If one of the team didn't think that cramming products was part of their job description, they knocked all their fellow employees out of Whopper world.
Talk about peer pressure. How would you like to be the one "customer service" representative who kept the rest of the crew from their free Whopper.
I'm sure the "customer service" representatives were pitching like the characters in Glengarry Glen Ross. And rewarded by the worst kind of junk food there is.
More than anything, it shows an arrogant example of how Bank of America doesn't think that the law applies to them.
Which explains how they can stay in business after getting dinged for $8.5 billion.
I've been avidly pushing the concept of Move Your Money. Take from your money from places like Bank of America and move them banks and credit unions in your community.
To my knowledge, none of them have paid a $8.5 billion settlement.
When I see a "too big to fail" bank handing out Whoppers for pushing products, it tells me that the bank does not hold the same values or belief systems that I do.
I've moved my money elsewhere. And encourage everyone to do the same.
It could be that the Whoppers are part of a master plan by Bank of America. You might remember that Wal Mart got in trouble a few years ago for purchasing life insurance on employees and profiting when they are dead.
I have not seen any evidence that Bank of America is buying insurance on its employees and plying them with Whoppers. I guess it is possible.
It would be cruel and heartless, but a lot of stuff that happens on Wall Street is cruel and heartless.
I'm not going to be banking at Bank of America. I'll do my best to stay away from the Whoppers too.
Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC is an award-winning financial columnist and Huffington Post Contributor.
You can read more about Don at www.donmcnay.com
McNay founded McNay Settlement Group, a structured settlement and financial consulting firm, in 1983, and Kentucky Guardianship Administrators LLC in 2000. You can read more about both at www.mcnay.com
McNay has Master's Degrees from Vanderbilt and the American College and is in the Hall of Distinguished Alumni of Eastern Kentucky University.
McNay has written two books. Most recent is Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You Win The Lottery
McNay is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table and has four professional designations in the financial services field