BANKS HIDE THEIR HEADS IN SHAME
Action Advocates is here to help you survive their practices
Sally Hwang recently spotted a payment of $8.10 on her checking account statement for accidental death and dismemberment insurance. Problem was, she had no recollection of signing up for such coverage. LA Times April 24, 2015.
Sally, like you and I, and our customers, was duped, in more ways than one. More than simply taking her money, they took her trust as well. The very bank that is supposed to be there for her financial well-being has stolen from her. They will sell you something that you don't even need, and make an amazing doing it, thereby destroying a relationship of trust that we all need. In Sally's case she was duped for 15 years. She had paid over $6,000 in premiums for something that she never knew she had, that she never needed, or used.
Let's make this incident a starting place to discuss this issue on another level. Banks have traditionally been the foundation of this country in more ways than one, but nowadays, they have become just like any other corporation, with a single focus, to make the largest profit for their shareholders. This is evident by the outbreak of lawsuits, and class actions, that have been brought against banks. Once a trusted friend, your bank has, these days, become a high-level con artist in many ways, and in some instances even goes so far as to destroy lives through their lending and foreclosure practices.
A good example of these nefarious bank practices was rampant, just before the financial crisis in the form of predatory lending. In 2012, a former loan officer with Wells Fargo testified that she and the other officers targeted majority black communities in Baltimore and nearby areas, forging relationships with churches and community groups. They pushed homeowners with perfect credit into loans that had higher interest rates than they should have been paying and also gave mortgages to people with low incomes who couldn’t afford them without any income paperwork or down payments. Think Progress Post, April 28th 2015
Additionally, lawsuits, recently brought by a number of groups including the California Attorney General's Office and Kamala Harris against banks include a plethora of issues seeking to resolve some of their disjointed practices, in favor of insurance companies, investment funds, and other small companies. And a number of these are suits have also been brought as class actions on behalf of the people, you and I.
The action by the California attorney general, Kamala Harris, was brought to win back a load of overdraft fees that were imposed in a usurious manner, multiple fees for each transaction that were added to customer's accounts in a manner that insured that they maximize the number of overdraft fees charged. The largest debit was taken out first, and then a string of smaller charges were subtracted out secondarily. This created a nightmare accounting scenario for individuals, imposing numerous fees for what would ordinarily be just one debit amount. And believe it or not, this lawsuit was resolved against the banks, such as Bank of America in favor of the people. The fees were returned in a class action payout. Where did all the regulation go? Who can be the watchdog? Right now it's left up to each state, and the companies to police the fraud-ridden banking industry.
On May 4th, Wednesday, I noticed, in the Los Angeles Times an article that highlighted yet another prime time example of one of these issues that hit home to you and I. Banks are not our trusted partners, but actually just another corporation, out for profit. An important lawsuit that exemplifies this was brought, also against Wells Fargo by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. He says the largest California-based bank, encouraged its employees to engage “in unfair, unlawful and fraudulent conduct” through a pervasive culture of high-pressure sales. According to the May 4th, 2015 LA Times Article, some employees went so far as to raid client accounts for money to open additional accounts, the suit alleges. “The result is that Wells Fargo has generated a virtual fee-generating machine, through which its customers are harmed, its employees take the blame, and Wells Fargo reaps the profit,” the lawsuit alleges.
At Action Advocates, we feel like we are one of the missing links individuals have to rely upon against the corporations, credit card companies, insurance companies, and banks, to name just a few of the industries that are now out for the dollar over integrity, and often harm people. First, by making our customers aware of these issues, such as the bank fraud that you personally may unwittingly be a party to, it is our goal to make a difference. Second, we provide real resolutions to these and other everyday issues.
And now individuals like Sally Hwang, and our customers, have been targeted by banks in cahoots with the insurance companies, to sell life and dismemberment insurance to you. Let's be realistic, banks don't care about your well-being, whether you may become maimed, dismembered or paralyzed, yet... they have paired with life insurance companies that profit off your well-being, and whatever unlucky events may befall you. Now, the banks are getting a cut of that profit. How many people do you know in this day and age that have a few digits missing? I don't know any. Yet the banks are telling you what a great buy this insurance is, AND on occasion are charging their usually, long-time, loyal customers for the premium (usually a low one like $6.99, so you won't catch it on your statement) automatically without their knowledge.
This type of practice is simply theft, and is happening by many other scammers too. But, this is not your average scammer phoning you from overseas somewhere. This is your BANK, one of the institutions that you need to be able to trust wholeheartedly. It's now a reality that you can't do that. Banks like Bank of America will pilfer dimes out of your pocket that you didn't even know you had.
This issue is just one example of the types of issues Action Advocates can help you resolve. It's well known that it's hard to isolate and fix one's own issues, like this. We, can look at other peoples’ issues and give them advice all day, but how often do we take our own advice, let alone act on it. And that's where we come in. We can look at the issue, water it down, and help you resolve it.
We would help you identify charges that are being subtracted from your account without your knowledge, and deal with the culprits directly, for you. Then, we make a plan or strategy, and follow-up on it until the issue is resolved and the charge goes away. Finally, we would work to make a plan to recoup those loses.
Its what we do... we want to be out there helping people help themselves, like in this instance, so that these banks can no longer take money from people without their knowledge who may not even have it, like you and me.
Tina M. Musto, JD Ohio Northern University, 1987