By Stephen C. Webster
Activists with the Rainforest Action Network recently devised a clever way of promoting their message: defacing Bank of America ATMs with non-adhesive stickers that look like the bank’s software interface, bearing some startling truths about the nation’s largest financial institution.
Their sticker asks users to “select your transaction,” with options like: “invest in coal-fired power plants,” “foreclose on America’s homes,” “bankroll climate change” and “fund executive bonuses.”
“Communities everywhere are fed up with Bank of America for putting profits before people and that’s what this new blog is all about,” Rainforest Action Network activist Amanda Starbuckexplained in a media advisory. “Whether it’s the fact that the company bankrolls climate change through coal investments or forecloses on America’s homeowners while paying top executives millions in bonuses, these are all symptoms of the bank’s lack of morality.”
The campaign was also being sponsored by activist network The New Bottom Line(NBL), a collection of progressive groups from across the country.
“Bank of America is one of the prime movers behind the housing crisis and the economic collapse of this country,” NBL co-director Tracy Van Slyke added. “From being the biggest forecloser in the country to avoiding paying their fair share of taxes to financing payday lenders, they are draining the 99% to pad their own bottom line. It’s time we have a new bottom line-where Bank of America contributes to the economy, and stops bankrupting it.”
Bank of America was the recipient of a $97 billion stop-loss bailout from U.S. taxpayers, meant to protect the bank’s assets from losses under its merger with Merrill Lynch. The bank gave CEO Brian T. Moynihan a $9.05 million executive bonus at the beginning of 2011, after his first year on the job. Similarly, Bank of America COO Thomas K. Montag recieved a bonus totaling over $15 million in 2011, mostly in restricted stock.