I have a tale to tell, a bit more personal than the usual
avalanche of articles condemning the Bank of America (BOA, my preferred
acronym, since it well describes their snaky, predatory behavior). It is also
100% symptomatic of how America has gone awry when spineless petty bureaucrats
get an ounce of power and run the show.
First, some background, to better appreciate the nature of the beast in this story, which necessarily involves a few words about my wife (who I unashamedly consider the beauty in this tale). Thus a few words regarding my wife, Christine Geery. I've lived with her and her autistic but wonderful daughter since 2008. Offering a short list, which many people seem to agree with, Christine is talented in many areas, gardening, cooking, and writing among them. She is atypically generous, thoughtful of others, kind, gentle, compassionate, aware, well-read, an extreme dog lover (she's had twelve, fourteen if you include the two we have now), a lover of nature, and deeply spiritual, in the sense of seeing into the nature of people and their spirits, flowers and plants in our garden, children, and other living things.
A few years after being with her, I encouraged Christine to put many of her essays into a book, which she did. It's called--appropriately, given her nature and personal experiences that few could endure--Heart Full of Hope. I will spare you the seemingly countless comments she's had regarding it, and present a few representative snippets from them here. [Call it advertising and I won't deny it, but I consider this relevant background to show how the Bank of America treats its "favored customers" and how willing it is to stab you in the back, with blind and utter disregard to the very people it calls clients.]
A breath of fresh air" candid personal stories that will make you smile and move you to tears at times. Written with simplicity, you will realize that you own journey has value and is worth sharing with the rest of the world. Thumbs up for the author. -MT
It is through our stories that we touch hearts, and show others
how to deal with our shared human experience. Christine's delightful book
"Heart full of Hope," is a collection of her personal and poignant
stories about life, love, and so much more. You'll laugh and cry as you read
this delightful book, and realize that underneath it all life is truly
Warmed my heart, made me laugh and left me wishing
it didn't have to end. -MP
As readers enjoy the different vignettes in Heart Full of Hope, they
will surely internalize author Christine Geery's warm, hopeful perspective
about the importance of living a simple life with lots of love and few regrets"
Geery memorializes moments as well as people (and her big sweetheart of a dog)"
The tone ranges from bitingly funny to contemplative and sometimes tragic"
Geery offers hope of moving on through grief and ongoing difficulties as she
shares the story of her own human condition. Heart Full of Hope may
deeply help those who have experienced hardships similar to hers, though one
need not relate to anything in particular to enjoy the book. --CW,
Moving along... over the past years and decades, I have become
painfully aware of the corruption and dysfunction of our economic system. I
would often explain something that Bank of America was up to, in my attempt to
inform Christine of the nature of the beast, largely because she banked there
since the year 2000. She has completed three mortgages with this bank, banked
exclusively with them, and, she claimed, things always seemed to run smoothly.
Hence, my complaints about BOA, which I tried to keep to a minimum, were met
with statements such as, "Well, they've always been good to me. I trust them
and the people I've worked with seem to be straightforward and honest." So be
it, and I considered this good practice in keeping my mouth shut, if nothing
Encounter with the beast: Christine noticed that BOA was offering
a 3.2% home mortgage loan, considerably lower than what we have been paying. It
would save $56,000 and we could pay it off in 15 years instead of the 21 now
remaining. This action would shoot a monthly $350 out of our meager coffers, in
addition to what we already pay. AND what we do pay, as most homeowners are
aware, is going primarily to interest, aka the wallets of folks who produce
nothing but enjoy taking other peoples' money. Sure, we'd have the house paid
off, but I'd be 83 and Christine would be 81, likely as not rolling around in
wheelchairs, or close to it.
We decided to proceed nonetheless. Christine would be eligible for
Medicare in February 2015, assuming it's still around, and this would replace
$377 that now sails out the window monthly to Select Health, with its $5,000 deductible
and no end of caveats that faithfully work in their favor.
Christine filled out and faxed what looked to me like a sizeable book
of confusing papers to a Ms. Nicole Reynolds, who works at BOA. That took close
to a week of gathering and organizing data. The faxing done, Christine soon
realized that she'd sent a highly personal form from another mess she was
dealing with, that form concerning privileged social security information
regarding her handicapped daughter.
Christine faxed another form to Ms. Reynolds, asking her to kindly
shred that particular document. No reply after considerable time and effort to
contact Ms. Reynolds. On one particular day, Christine called five "mortgage
specialists," only to leave messages for someone to call her. No one ever did. Christine
then called a Mr. Chris Hoyer, Ms. Reynolds' manager, for a second time, and
amazingly enough, he answered.
Explaining the situation to Mr. Hoyer, he replied, "Oh, yes,
Nicole showed that document to me this morning." He and Christine went into a
discussion about the document, which Mr. Hoyer took great interest in. He asked
many questions about it, none of them the bank's business. Being the trusting
soul she is, Christine answered the questions, then inquired if the document
had yet been destroyed, as she had previously requested. Mr. Hoyer said bank
policy would not allow destroying documents because they become "part of a
client's permanent file." At the same time, Christine was informed that BOA is
a "paperless" bank!
Naturally upset, Christine again explained that this paper was
personal and had nothing to do with the loan process. It couldn't be done, Hoyer
again responded. Christine then wrote the following to Ms. Reynolds in a fax:
Bank of America