Banks go for style change

So the banks are trying to soften their image:

In print, television, and online advertising, mid-size banks and the nation’s largest institutions are spending millions to stress their relationships with customers, emphasizing the personal touch even as they shutter branches and invest in inventions, like mobile apps and smarter ATMs, that reduce actual human contact.

They’re featuring sepia-tinted photos and feel-good vignettes, with bankers in the background helping families plan for a wedding or buy a new dog. They spotlight their efforts to help military service members, struggling communities, and Main Street businesses.

Their problem came from helping to crash the world economy and world-sized fraud:

The US government has accused Bank of America Corp. of civil fraud, saying the company failed to disclose risks and misled investors in its sale of $850 million of mortgage bonds during 2008.

The Justice Department filed a civil suit Tuesday against the bank and several subsidiaries in federal court in Charlotte, N.C. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a related suit against Bank of America there, too.

Perhaps they could try to help their image by stopping such things:

Many banks are still violating basic legal requirements when foreclosing on properties in Massachusetts, according to attorneys who represent homeowners fighting to save their homes.

Lenders do not always adhere to a 2007 state law, amended in 2010, that provides homeowners 150 days to catch up on missed mortgage payments before a foreclosure can begin, they say.

Under the law, banks and mortgage companies are required to send ‘‘right-to-cure’’ notices to delinquent borrowers that provide basic information about the foreclosure process, including whom to contact and who holds the mortgage.

They also might trying to reduce fees:

Fewer customers are at risk of leaving the big banks than they were two years ago, Beck says; bank vulnerability has slightly improved since 2011, with the percentage of potential defectors falling from 33% to 26%.

But the problems remain the same, according to Beck. “Interaction [with banks] is not as bad as it was in 2011…[but] there has not been a demonstrable change that has led consumers to feel better.”

The problem is that those things actually cost them more money, so ads it is.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tiffany267
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 16:50:42

    Hmmm someone sounds bitter. Perhaps you could store all your money in a drawer at home, since you distrust lending institutions so much? And who needs mortgages or credit cards anyway – it’s not as though anyone depends on credit for things these days, right?


    • fredtopeka
      Aug 07, 2013 @ 18:39:17

      Someone sounds like they don’t believe in regulation. If the banks were regulated like they were through most of the 1980s they wouldn’t have been able to crash the world economy like they did.


      • tiffany267
        Aug 07, 2013 @ 18:47:22

        You are correct! I don’t “believe in” anything, as that is a silly concept. I acknowledge reality and I accept truths – “believing in” things is a faith-based perspective which has no place in human activity.

        And I vehemently oppose all restrictions on liberty, whether it is a bank’s liberty or a whistle-blower’s liberty.

        Incidentally I don’t remember banks crashing anything? My only recollection of someone crashing things is the actions of the State, which has single-handedly hijacked the entirety of our economic interactions, yet ironically casts blame on the financial institutions that supported the economy before the Federal Reserve began manipulating interest rates.

        *State fucks shit up*

        *People are like – ok someone broke it, fess up!*

        *State decides to be a 2-year-old and blames someone else, then continues to do the same shit*

        Story of our lives.

      • fredtopeka
        Aug 07, 2013 @ 19:26:47

        Funny your ‘truth’ sounds like it’s not reality based. How exactly did the state crash the economy?

      • tiffany267
        Aug 07, 2013 @ 21:22:34

        Holy hell – where to start? The New Deal? We could probably go earlier than that but it’s probably the most relevant example.

        Let’s just focus on the food industry because it’s quite accessible.

        So once upon a time people got their food by growing it themselves or trading it (mostly) honestly among one another. The government in its war-mongering wisdom decided that letting the free market take care of food supply as it had for thousands of years just wasn’t good enough and it began to impose tariffs and subsidies in order to prop up domestic corn production. This was the rationale for the farm bill subsidizing corn farmers with more benefits than most citizens can name (at the obvious expense of the rest of the food industry).

        Meanwhile they started supporting the production of processed foods in order to feed soldiers in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

        MEANWHILE, they contracted with Monsanto to murder innocents using Agent Orange.

        Fast-forward to today where nearly all our food is highly processed crap heavily laden with corn syrup, where small family farms that always fed our country are actively shut down when they refuse to contract with Monsanto (which the State prohibits anyone from suing).

        Oh wait, but that’s in the name of public safety, right? The FDA and the USDA are just looking out for our health, aren’t they? I guess that’s why factory farms are allowed to continue contaminating our water supply and letting toxic waste from unsustainable livestock practices infect produce that we all eat – yet the same type of farms that used to support the entire country are now actively prosecuted and subject to ridiculous regulations and inspections. What happened to food?!

        Speaking of food, let’s talk about buying food.

        So, before the New Deal alphabet soup was established, small businesses proliferated which sold honest, local food honestly to consumers. We had no monster monopolies like Wal-Mart. But the government decided we weren’t safe, and it created barriers to running a business, particularly a business which sold food. During the 20th century, Mom&Pop businesses were economically forced to sell out or go out of business. Huge companies began to form among the few that could deal with government restrictions (who suspiciously seemed very cozy with officials in the FDA and USDA and particularly eager to lobby congressmembers), and we began to see the end of small local restaurants and grocery stores and the beginning of the era of chains owned by multinationals. It’s interesting that McDonalds etc. came to success selling corn-fed “beef” while the government was subsidizing corn, making it artificially cheap to keep cows in filthy, unhealthy conditions pumped with steroids and hormones (of course, there’s no way that cronyism is involved as far as these drugs are concerned *COUGH* FDA) fed with low-quality corn. Precisely as small businesses began to have trouble, Wal-Mart began pressuring local officials to use their political positions to re-write zoning laws in order to allow them to move into communities that didn’t want them. Not surprisingly, the charm of small towns, with locally owned and managed businesses, dried up in the face of cheap corn-syrup laden shit which would never have made it into the market except for the crooked favoritism of elected and appointed officials.

        It’s ironic that while I’m spending my time on this highly unimpressive chat with you, I’m also having a lovely conversation with another blogger about the persecution of food trucks around the country. But clearly the State hasn’t waged a war on the food industry!

        Nah, it’s just the banks disrupting the economy, isn’t it.

        How the hell could a bank disrupt the economy? Banks ARE the economy. The only thing that can disrupt the economy, by definition, is the government, because only the government sits outside of the realm of the market.

        Also, kindly practice some better debate skills. “You’re wrong because you don’t sound right” really doesn’t amount to an argument, sweetheart.

        Have a nice day though, and sleep easy knowing you have money in the bank! ;D

  2. fredtopeka
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 00:14:50

    Wow, that’s a pretty impressive set of statements you have there:

    “So, before the New Deal alphabet soup was established, small businesses proliferated which sold honest, local food honestly to consumers. We had no monster monopolies like Wal-Mart.”
    Wow, no monster monopolies before the New Deal? Really, how about Standard Oil, US Steel, and all the other Trusts that were broken up before then?

    “So once upon a time people got their food by growing it themselves or trading it (mostly) honestly among one another. The government in its war-mongering wisdom decided that letting the free market take care of food supply as it had for thousands of years just wasn’t good enough and it began to impose tariffs and subsidies in order to prop up domestic corn production.”
    You might have heard of people called slaves, serfs, and peasants. They grew the food but didn’t own it–that was the traditional way of getting food. In the great depression, farmers lost their farms at an alarming rate before the New Deal (you might have heard of this thing called the Dust Bowl, in fact farmers weren’t doing very well in the 1920s before the crash). Also, you seem to be worried about the quality of food. Have you read The Jungle to see what it was like before government regulation?

    “How the hell could a bank disrupt the economy? Banks ARE the economy. ”
    The Great Depression was caused by the stock market crash and bank runs (many institutions were wiped out because they were too highly leveraged). Panics at least partially caused by bank failures occurred in the US in: 1819, 1837, 1847, 1857, 1873, 1893, 1907, and 1929. There wasn’t another recession/panic caused by banks until 1989 (thanks FDIC) after regulations on Savings and Loans were weakened. The crisis of 2007/8 was caused by the popping of the US housing bubble, aided and abetted by all that securitization of mortgages by the banks–this happened after the deregulation by Clinton and Bush. Banks and other financial institutions cause panics when they over leverage to try to make more money–this tends to create bubbles which crash, creating recessions/depressions because the institutions fail and pull down whole chunks of the economy with them.

    Regulated well, banks are great. Under regulated, it might be better to keep your money in your mattress. Have fun.


  3. Gregg Austin
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 06:49:13

    There’s a reason this is so inadequate to the problem at hand. For the last three years, the policy has been to impose a political solution to a math problem. It hasn’t worked. America simply has too much mortgage debt to pay back. Serious economic thinkers across the spectrum, from Democrat Alan Blinder to Republican Martin Feldstein to New York Fed President William Dudley, believe that there is only one solution — writing down the enormous creaking mound of debt. This solution is currently off the table, because writing down these unsustainable debts could cost our fragile banks enormous sums of money and possibly lead to a restructuring of one or more of our major banks. Avoiding this clear policy choice has resulted in our economy falling into a Japan-style “zombie bank” torpor, with debts carried on the books at full value which everyone knows will not be paid back at par.


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