Bank of America ATMs In San Francisco Turned Into Truth Machines

Written by Mike G

Topics: Climate, Coal, Direct Action

share this story
facebook twitter email stumble upon
Get Energy Alerts

RAN activists took to the streets of San Francisco last night and turned every Bank of America ATM in the city into an Automated Truth Machine.

The activists used special non-adhesive stickers designed to look exactly like BoA’s ATM interface. But instead of checking and savings accounts, these new menus offered a list of everything BoA customers’ money is being used for, including investment in coal-fired power plants, foreclosure on Americans’ homes, bankrolling of climate change, and paying for fat executive bonuses.

Here’s a handy map showing all 85 ATMs we made a little more truthful last night:

Bank of America ATM gets brandjammedThe stickers also encourage BoA customers to “Stop doing business with Bank of America until they start behaving responsibly” and have the URL to our new blog, which we’ve just launched along with The New Bottom Line:

BankruptingAmerica.tumblr.com.

We’re using that blog to track all the ways BoA is bankrupting America, hence the name. We’ve received so many submissions it’s clear to us that this website was badly needed. There are lots of grievances to be aired with regard to how Bank of America is conducting its business these days, as it turns out. (Not that that’s terribly surprising.)

Check it out, and feel free to submit if you’re so inclined.

Update: The response to this action has been so huge that we’ve made the design available as a high-res PDF. It’s available here. We ARE NOT suggesting you do anything with it.

97 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Mike Moen says:

    Gather weapons n ammo, America is under siege from global multi-national corporations, driven by greed… Hero’s don’t do it for the money. Hookers do…

  2. Adam says:

    Jackie G needs to read Animal Farm. Read about Boxer the horse, specifically.

  3. Jill Press says:

    Keep up the great work! It’s an aesthetic thrill to see how techies are using their skills to create guerrilla theater.

  4. jim says:

    LOVE IT! haha!

  5. Harry says:

    Sweet!

  6. mojo jojo says:

    For all that don’t seem to feel that there is suffering without effect. This prank is almost completely harmless. No one has hacked the BoA mainframe to rename the buttons or take sensitive information. There are capabably mind dissidents out there that feel the twinges of banks’ disingenuous and perhaps greedy methodologies to procuring their profitable tomorrows.
    I am very happy that there are folks that work.
    Folks that have work for others.
    It warms my heart to hear how each and every one of the county’s taxpayers are unduely made to suffer not merely from usery and fees from automated tellers and secondary taxation of capital gains tax… Wait no it doesn’t.

    But lest we jump the gun of judgement. These are adhesive stickers. Now the custodian of the tidy foyers of BoA has another raison d’etre.

  7. Mike P says:

    Lafflin, Kat, Mike G, I love you.

  8. tjr says:

    Thanks! Made me laugh out loud.

  9. Nadja says:

    Nice! Too bad some of us HAVE to be Bank of America customers… If you receive an unemployment check you can only get your payment through a B of A debit card. The Feds are contracting with the banksters.

  10. tony says:

    There is climate change just not man made climate change. we have sixty year cycles of cooling and warming due to the ocean plus other cycles. they just show us 30 years of the science. People similar to Al Gore in the seventies tried to create global cooling. its a myth. these carbon credits go to a bank that has Al Gore as a major share hold. hes a hypocrite that creates more carbon (the stuff planets need to live) from his many home and planes than whole communities of people.

  11. Ra33it says:

    @mike
    So all of those actors, musicians, programmers, designers, filmakers and, writers that you enjoy every day(that is if you use the Internet, watch movies or tv) aren’t doing well? They aren’t millionaires? Many of them are. Many more still are being jerked around for their sweat and tears, paid pennies for a rare talent, because people like you do not see the worth of what they create. You take that effort for granted, because you don’t understand how much work it can be.

    I’m an artist. I have a BFA and I do very well for myself. Many of my friends are artists and they do very well for themselves. We pay taxes, own property, are not hippies, support OWS. We do so because we see a disparity of voice between the public and big buisiness. None of us are whining, none of us expect anything for nothing. That is big media spin talking, not the truth of the movement. What is wanted is a public voice equal to if not greater than, the voice of 400 people who have billions of dollars at their disposal to buy the interest of our elected officials. The elected who are supposed to protect and represent us AGAINST corruption, greed, and injustice.

  12. Justin says:

    You’re sabotaging your own movement! When are you guys going to figure this out? People that use Bank of America will see that, get really annoyed with YOU, peel off the adhesive and be extra aggressive against your cause for making their banking more difficult. Educating and annoying are two VERY different things! Annoying is what kids do for attention. Think of the way you react to annoying children. It certainly isn’t an enlightening experience. Apparently this is your strategy…

  13. Justin says:

    The irony here is that the one percenters would probably be far more effective at running a campaign against themselves than the OWS movement ever would.

  14. LittleTree says:

    I LOVE THIS!!!! I wish the Occupy Movement would do more things like this! LOOK OUT NEBRASKA HERE I COME!

  15. jray says:

    AWESOME. This is brilliant. And “truth monger,” you’re an idiot. Stickers next to a machine would have accomplished nothing. The cleverness of this is what will get the message seen by millions as it goes viral on fb, moron.

  16. LittleTree says:

    PLEASE TELL ME WHERE TO PRINT THESE OUT! We have One in Lincoln and two in Omaha :)

  17. seeker says:

    The covers they put over the screens are “non adhesive” no glue to be removed no damage to anything. Just repeating “non adhesive” as stated in the article.

  18. Lily says:

    It had to be San Francisco that would come up with this genius idea. Love it, love it. Thank you San Francisco!!

  19. Jared says:

    If you don’t like coal-fired power plants, you’d better cut off the electricity to your house, because it runs on coal. You also better throw away your computer, cell phone, television, electric toothbrush, electric cars, etc. The truth is, there will not be enough energy in this country if we do not continue to develop coal power, unless everyone does what I mentioned above.
    As for foreclosures, this is the way banks work. If they don’t foreclose on these houses, they will go bankrupt. Also, why should people get to own a house for free when others pay to rent like responsible adults. Get educated before you do something completely ignorant like this again.

  20. J. says:

    BOA has my mortgage so I actually OWE them money. They are NOT my bank so they only hold my debt so I don’t feel so bad. However my mortgage is prob one of their few GOOD loans as it will be paid off within the next 18 months-then my dealings with them are done. Naturally I didn’t choose them-they acquired me from a buy out which prob resulted from a bail out……

  21. KaD says:

    The same thing needs to be done for the two other huge criminal banking conglomerates, Chase and Wells Fargo.

  22. LydiaE says:

    And I thought the fliers I was hanging on their ATMS were cool…Where can I get some of these stickers? :)

  23. CAT says:

    This is Awesome!
    Mike, it’s Cat of MH ~ How are you? a friend posted this up on her FB, I read it, Saw your name and pic and bam! Hey I remember you! Send me a msg let me know how your doing.

    peace

  24. Lea Woodard says:

    I’m not terribly surprised to hear these allegations against BoA. I had the misfortune to open an account with them in 2004 and they were hell to deal with the entire 18 months I had an account. They consistently charged me overdraft fees, even when there was money in my account, and they had an entire slew of hidden fees on their BoA credit card, and the interest rate kept climbing until it was something ridiculous like 27% or more.

  25. Alex Tyler says:

    Where can i get these stickers?

  26. Sharon says:

    LOVE YOUR WORK, RAN! Great culture jam!

    Jared, the whole point is that we ALL rely on the infrastructure that delivers our energy. But we need to change that infrastructure. People advocating for change are working to shift the mindset and the culture so that the shift can happen. If they never drove a car or used a computer again, it might save them from people who want to shoot the messenger, but ‘do-nothing’ won’t change things. Why make excuses for corporates who are actively working to undermine this effort?

    Tony – whether you believe in climate change or not is irrelevant. We need to shift away from fossil fuels because they are becoming less readily available and as they do, they will become unviable in terms of cost long before they physically run out. Physics and biology says we have to transition, whether we like it or not.

  27. Lindsay says:

    I would LOVE to know if maybe you could make these stickers available to buy?? Proceeds could go to support the cause AND could spread the word across the country!!

  28. kpot says:

    As an alternative – you would want to advocate a development a few more nuclear power plants, abandon western way of banking – receive your paycheck in cash and stuff it under your pillow?! What are the alternatives for America? How can you “bankroll climate change”?, are you people so naive? The same statement could be applied to “bankrolling earthquakes” or “stop bankrolling weather-fronts” and “stop bankrolling monster-waves”! Do you really think this childish approach can stop the course of nature?! making business on reselling CO2 quotes from one country to another – global politics and ARE man-made speculations in a financial world – read “Stock exchange markets”. Financing “global warming” or “ice age” – is Disney matter! Get your High School books out! Stopping consuming millions tons of beef – will make the nice reduction of methan gas polluting the athmosphere, for a change.

  29. kpot says:

    Why do you trust your money to this institution in the first place? To get an easy credit to CONSUME, CONSUME and CONSUME!!!!
    Stop this on your own back yard – you’ll start seeing the results much sooner, than this infantile whining.
    For some who do have concerns about cashing their wealth-care benefits checks – cash it there and be thankful! I don’t know for myself on this matter, but I am sure there are other solutions to your “PROBLEM” of not wanting doing that type of business with BofA. Perhaps, cancelling your credit line or not overdrafting your account on your next visit to Wallmart, could solve it?

  30. Jacob says:

    @Jared: if the banks did not foreclose on the homes but instead made loan modifications, they would still receive an income stream; it would simply be a smaller stream than what they originally projected. What many banks are doing is foreclosing on homes, meaning they will not get any income, then letting them go fallow: not maintaining them, which costs money; not paying taxes on them, because *that* costs money; not trying to find renters, because that process costs money… they are, in short, taking an asset they have which, going forward, could provide them with a reduced income stream or provide them with *no* income stream because they cannot resell it in the current economic climate (they won’t let it go for low enough for people to afford it), and they’re choosing the latter option.
    If anything will cause those banks to go bankrupt, it will be systemically choosing to cut off their own income. That is the definition of business mismanagement. Then again, they’ll probably get more government handouts to avoid going under. [snark] Government handouts, after all, should *only* go to the rich and powerful so they can get richer and more powerful, not the people at the bottom who need it just to put a roof over their heads or (as a former president once said) food on their families. We must encourage those capitalists with socialist handouts instead of encouraging people on the fringes with socialist handouts, because the people on the fringes aren’t capitalist enough.

  31. Rocky says:

    Usually I’ve found most “activism” to be under educated rants. Usually they are sponsored by liberal democrats who have no idea how government works, or what’s it’s purpose is. For the first time in my life; They’re actually right and not doing enough! There needs to be more protest about the Obama administration bailing out their “Fat Cat” incompetent business partners, like Warren Buffet and George Soros, at taxpayer expense! Bank of America should have been left to fail, their assets sold off to new management who may or may not have been incompetent. Along with all of the others. Americans would have been no worse off, the production lines slowed anyway, people lost jobs anyway. The assets of these failed companies would have been sold to new investors, and the incompetents who brought about the massive financial failures to been with would have been unseated from power. Instead we’re stuck now still fighting with sames people who have already demonstrated financial incompetence, and disdain for the public. It just doesn’t make sense to continue to support the people who put the screws to you again, and again, and then to pay their bills on top of it. So, two things. 1) Get out there and do more of this. 2) Now that you’re getting people’s attention start a process of education

  32. John Rambo says:

    To bad the man made climate change myth and the carbon trade is also bankrolled by the same people.

    Eco fascism is about population control and keeping the 3rd world POOR. Maintaining negative birthrates and reducing the population is the main goal of the elite that now hover over the world and parasitically feed off the people an manipulate us. Kissinger wrote 150 page report about it in 1974.

    You all need to Read superclass by rothkopf.

    Don’t believe the hype. The bankers are on both sides of the “green” coin.

  33. Withheld says:

    Just checked (Sun. 1/15) the B of A ATM’s in Noe Valley and on Mission Street. No stickers.

  34. Kimberly Glenn says:

    Yes, please share. Wonderful idea. :) Occupy Ames, ISU, Des Moines, Iowa…we could do this.

  35. Jeremy says:

    Its about time! Where can I (we) get some of those? Major kudos to the people who did this.

  36. Deb Arnason says:

    What Mike fails to realize – Global climate change can be argued about until the human race has succumbed to the carbon monoxide poisoning WE are pumping into our 6-mile high garage (the earth’s oxygen tent)24/7. He must have money invested with the polluters and wants to keep it a secret. Too late. Time to get real.

    Besides damaging our air, water, food supply with fossil fuels like coal, we are causing earthquakes by fracking the earth for natural gas 7000 feet down. Some basic thinking would lead one to conclude that Earth, being the 3rd rock from the sun, might just crack like the geode it is if we keep doing what we are doing. Time to get real and hold inhuman Corporate monopolies like BOfA accountable. Why don’t they finance phasing in solar panels on every roof so we ALL profit from clean energy and the planet stays healthy?

  37. Conehead says:

    San Francisco leading the way to drive California further into the ground…

  38. Rodolfo says:

    The trickle down theory was not getting the homeowners anywhere when wall street and banks awarded millions in bonuses.,, then to turn around and tell the homeowners that their homes are not worth what they were before…

    What kind of BS was that?. Something still could be done about this…. and that is for every one to see and realize that, yeah the homeowners should be granted their homes….

    Homeowners had contributed to the financial taxes….There will be no looking for new money for this grant for the homeowners, the same money that was given to the banks and wall street was suffice…. When the money was given… it should have been given first to the homeowners then the homeowners would have given the money to the banks and the homeowners would be the ones who would be bringing up the economy with having no mortgage to pay. …. Lets do something about it now !!! and not let it be something that in 15 years from now someone who is running for office ends up using it as a blame thing and yet is not able to do anything about it. No one should be a slave to pay for a home for 30 years…. having an interest rate cap of 10% on Credit cards should be also part of the new structure. This is gonna be the year to come of the new beginning. But you have to want to stop these things from happening. Thank you for your time.

  39. Batman says:

    So, let me get this straight… the Rainforest hippies are encouraging as many people as they can (I’m sure they hope millions) to print out their little drawing on PAPER, and paste it to ABM’s where it will just get tossed out in the garbage at record speed.

    How many trees will need to be chopped down to accommodate this elementary school idea?

    This is the dumbest shit I’ve ever come across. Do these kids have no parents? My old man would donkey kick me if I told him I was an “activist” crying about issues that I myself have no idea on resolving.

  40. Batman says:

    So, let me get this straight… the Rainforest hippies are encouraging as many people as they can (I’m sure they hope millions) to print out their little drawing on PAPER, and paste it to ABM’s where it will just get tossed out in the garbage at record speed.

    How many trees will need to be chopped down to accommodate this elementary school idea?

    This is the dumbest shit I’ve ever come across. Do these kids have no parents? My old man would donkey kick me if I told him I was an “activist” crying about issues that I myself have no idea on resolving..

  41. Kathleen Burt says:

    From a realtor who takes care of Snowbirds’ property here in Florida, a BoA agent suggested a tenant stop paying rent, so the homeowner would be in default and the bank could foreclose.

  42. Jacob says:

    I am switching banks thanks primarily to this awakening, good work.

  43. Beth says:

    Today, I tried to make a transaction with Bank of America (1/17/12), all of the computer systems were down and had been for over an hour according to the teller I was working with. They had no explanation and did not know when the problem would be absolved, but she said it was nation wide. I’ve searched the inet and see no posts re this outage in service. Are they crashing once again?

  44. WiseFather says:

    If you liked the “Automated Truth Machines” prank, you might get a kick out of this direct action protest I took on my own against Bank of America. I called the credit card’s customer service line to do some “negotiating.” Having a bit of leverage, I thought it presented a great opportunity to mess with them a little without fear of retribution. I made a video of the call and posted it on my blog along with my comments about what happened and a fuller “director’s cut” transcript. Pay attention to his response to the classic line “Why does Bank of America hate Christmas?” Enjoy. http://www.ragingwisdom.com/?p=508

  45. Mr. Pillow says:

    Hey John Rambo–CAPITALISM is about keeping the third world poor, not this pretend “eco terrorism” you mumble about. As for negative population growth, I don’t care who you think wants it, just tell me, do you really see the current runaway growth of the human species as good in any way?

  46. Stubbmled accross your site and chose to use a quick study, not what I usually do, however i found your blog excellent. Great to view a website which includes great content, and makes some sense. Anyway, great jot down.

  47. Webcams says:

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and
    sources back to your site? My website is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would certainly benefit from some of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Thanks a
    lot!

Trackbacks For This Post

Leave a Comment Here's Your Chance to Be Heard!

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.