I imagine there are quite a few folks over at Bank of America thanking god it’s Friday right about now, because this was one hell of a bad week for them. In fact, it’s been a pretty bad couple of weeks for the bank. And for Bank of America, of all companies, to have a bad couple of weeks, well… you know it must have been BAD.
This week kicked off with BofA VP of small business banking Lance Easley, who also happens to be a replacement referee for the NFL, making the infamous call that handed the Seattle Seahawks a victory over the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football—what some are calling “the worst call ever.” And it didn’t get any better from there—though things were already not exactly going BofA’s way.
Here, in no certain order, is how the past couple of weeks have played out for Bank of America:
- The fallout continued following BofA’s announcement late last week that it would be cutting 16,000 jobs by year’s end. This puts the bank nearly a year ahead of schedule in its plan to cut some 30,000 jobs over the next few years, the largest US job cuts announced in all of 2011.
- The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and five of its member organizations filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development accusing BofA of bias in the maintenance and marketing of foreclosed homes in minority neighborhoods. After evaluating 373 properties, NFHA concluded that foreclosed homes in predominantly white neighborhoods were in much better condition than empty homes in minority neighborhoods, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
- Millions of Bank of America customers were reportedly unable to access their accounts online this week as BofA continued to be targeted by a string of cyberattacks.
- News just broke today that Bank of America will have to pay $2.43 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by investors over misleading claims made by BofA officials during the acquisition of Merrill Lynch. BofA shareholders say bank officials “made false or misleading statements about both companies’ financial health” when they announced the $20 billion deal to acquire Merrill in 2008, at the height of the financial crisis (in fact, the deal was announced the same weekend that Lehman Brothers went belly up). Investors realized they’d been duped when BofA announced Merrill would post $27.6 billion in losses later that same year. Bank of America ended up having to borrow another $20 billion on top of the $25 billion it had already borrowed from you and me, the taxpayers, to get out of its financial mess.
As you can see, BofA seems to be making a lot of bad calls these days, and, unfortunately, the majority of them are not happening on the gridiron. (Okay so the cyberattacks may not exactly be Bank of America’s fault, except for the fact that BofA is one big shining symbol of everything predatory and self-serving about Wall Street.)
Oh and if all that wasn’t enough, Bank of America still hasn’t fixed its coal problem. That’s your worst call yet, BofA. Get with it.