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BofA denies that practices hurt consumers

BofA denies that practices hurt consumers

Bank of America Corp. denied accusations that its retail practices pressure consumers into needlessly costly products that contributed to the credit crisis.
Spokeswoman Anne Pace responded to a conference call Tuesday by the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Current and former bank employees participated on the call, which was organized by the Service Employees International Union.
Among other charges, the coalition said Bank of America and other big banks pay tellers and phone representatives steep commissions for pressuring consumers into dubious, high-cost programs like "credit protection" and "overdraft protection." Consumers that qualify for lower-rate credit cards are urged to accept cards with higher rates, the group alleges.
"Bank of America is committed to ensuring our fees are transparent and predictable," Pace wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. "We also provide tools and services that give our customers more control and flexibility to effectively manage their accounts and prevent fees."
Pace wrote that the coalition's claims "misrepresent (Bank of America's) relationship with its customers and its associates." She declined to comment on specific charges from former employees, except to call the bank's practices "fair."
Her statement said the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank maintains open communication between employees and managers, but did not address the labor group's key demand that bank workers be afforded whistleblower protections so they can alert regulators to questionable practices.
In an interview Monday, a former Bank of America employee said the company routinely encouraged consumers to bounce checks or forgo mortgage payments to keep credit cards current.
Christopher Feener, who worked on credit cards for MBNA and Bank of America for 15 years, said his team made bogus threats of legal action against delinquent borrowers and called their neighbors _ violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The group, including Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, demanded reforms including whistleblower protections and compensation policies that do not compel bank's sales staff to hard-sell expensive products and services.


Updated : 2021-05-10 04:58 GMT+08:00