It should come to no surprise that I am not a fan of large banks. I find their credit card policies and their mortgage dealings to be less than open, honest, and fair. This opinion comes from over two decades of dealing with them, watching their political influence, their profits, and how they treat customers especially during their “loan modification” programs. Add in all of the selling and reselling of their debt portfolios and you get an impersonal conglomerate with customer services that are far less than adequate and a company solely focused on profit even at the cost of truth and honesty.
It turns out, I am not the only one who holds this belief. The Department of Justice has been investigating many of the big banks and analyzing a number of their business practices. Bank of America has been fined $16.65 BILLION Dollars for selling loans to the government without accurate disclosure of the loans (it is called fraud if you or I do it). While this is a huge amount of money, about $9 Billion will be paid to the government and only approximately 7 billion will go to consumers. But before you get excited and expect a check, Bank of America will “pay” the 7 billion by loan modification and refinancing. For any of you who have tried to get a modification you will understand my skepticism of this plan.
According to some sources Bank of America has now paid over $60,000,000,000.00 in fines over the last few years. Other large banks have also paid a combined total of approximately 40 billion in fines. While I am pleased some action has been taken, I am disheartened that large banks can defraud the government (and customers) out of billions of dollars and criminal prosecutions don't seem to be forth coming. There clearly is a different standard for large politically connected banks than there is for private citizens.