Well, here we go again. Bank of America, a very large bank based in Charlotte NC is punishing it’s credit card customers for it’s lack of business acumen. This is a prevalent theme in modern day american business. Exorbitant salaries are paid to upper management, with “golden parachutes”, and when they don’t do their jobs properly, who gets punished. The customers and employees. Bank of America has a policy that appears rather arbitrary and unfair. Despite perfect payment records, credit card rates are being jacked up. Despite the fact that there have been recent congressional hearings into credit card companies and banks regarding their practices of affecting FICO scores and raising rates and heightened consumer awareness, Bank of America callously impacts good customers.
An article in The Charlotte Observer today, Wednesday, February 13, 2008, gives multiple examples of good customers that have been treated unjustly by Bank of America. Brenda Fishkin got a letter from BofA last month stating her interest rate was going from 13% to 24.99 percent. Fishkin, 60, had never had a late credit card payment, had just refinanced her home at a lower rate and just got a lower rate on her credit union credit card. The fed has lowered rates significantly in recent months which should mean lower rates for many consumers. Holley Pridmore has had a BofA credit card since 2002. Her rate just went from 15.24 to 23.99 with never a late payment.
Wachovia looks at their customers payment records to determine rates,with the intent of keeping their customers. I have had banking relationships with BofA and Wachovia. My experience with Bank of America several years ago was less than steller. I was a long time First Union customer. What kept me with them was the fine level of service from the local people. I had a credit card with First Union for many years that was great. Before First Union merged with Wachovia, they turned the credit card division over to MBNA. It became credit card hell. Wachovia, wisely, took control of the credit card processing from MBNA. I applaud them for that. And I will say, Wachovia is doing some things right.
Curtis Arnold, founder of US Citizens for Credit Card Terms has been hearing a lot of complaints about credit card rate increases lately and most of them are about Bank of America. Their website is:
US Representative, Carolyn Maloney, from NY recently introduced th Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights Act of 2008, HR 5244. The bill bans credit card rate hikes based on unrelated loans. It also requires 45 days’ notice for most rate hikes. We need more consumer outrage! I have contacted Elizabeth Dole’s office several years ago about credit issues and credit reporting. Contact your congress person. Let them know you are concerned. Also, make sure you check your credit report at least once per year.
Bank of America, if you have a reasonable defense for your policy, respond and it will be displayed as written.