Bank of America–Our New Big Brother?

In this time of economic “challenges,” to understate reality by a lot, you never know who is going to be asking you what about your money–or so I found out today.

I called my bank today to transfer some money from a CD into my checking account–not a large amount, and no big deal, or at least it hasn’t been for previous transactions of this sort.

But today, imagine my surprise when the young, very pleasant, very efficient and business-like sounding female voice responded to my request by saying, “Why do you want this money in your checking account?” I nearly dropped the phone.

Why in the world did she care what I wanted this money for and how in the world did she even feel she had the right to ask? And who exactly was she going to report this to? It must have been a directive from above that gave her the gall to ask. Good grief. Big Brother in the form of Bank of America.

This question struck me as particularly peculiar in light of the recent demand by major unions that Obama give BOA’s CEO, Ken Lewis, the same treatment he gave to GM’s Rick Wagoner–dismissal. Could that be why Bank of America now wants to know what you–assuming it’s not just me BOA is interested in–are doing with your money?

Or, does BOA feel it can ask this question of its customers because Mr. Lewis is accepting bail out money “while continuing to fleece consumers and taxpayers,” as reported on Greg Sargent’s online blog, The Plum Line on 3/31/09? Meaning, does Mr. Lewis want to know if his customers are actively financially supporting efforts to oust him? (Maybe that’s the answer I should have given.) What does give here?

So, back to my simple request of the BOA person at the other end of the phone line this morning. In response to her surprising-to-me query of why did I want my money, I said, “because I want it.” What did she expect me to say? I had no idea what she expected, so I asked her.

According to her, and this I find hard to believe for several reasons, she was asking me what I wanted my money for in case I was “going to buy a house in a few days”–in which case, she informed me, she would have told me to leave my money where it was until the day before I needed it, and then transfer it–to avoid losing any interest. Was that a ploy to keep BOA’s bottom line looking better than it is, and does literally every dollar count? The answer sounded floozy to me.

Her response might have flown as a plausible, had the original question been phrased differently, and if the amount in question had been substantial enough to be a down payment on a house. It wasn’t. That alone told me that the reason for this question could not have had anything to do with BOA’s interest in my financial welfare. Perhaps I should investigate further.

Was the BOA rep who took my call this morning in on something we all should know, but don’t–yet? Was her question about why did I want my money analogous to the pre-earthquake rumblings that are often felt before ‘The Big One’ hits–like the warning rumbles that occurred for days before the recent massive and devastating quake in Italy, but were ignored? Maybe I should take all of my money out of BOA and put it…where??? Is there a safe place anymore? I’m thinking that the bottom of my horse’s grain barrel is looking the most promising.

All I can say is that I am very glad Mr. Lewis doesn’t have access to all of my funds, and I’m also thinking that he won’t much longer have access to the ones he does now.

What in the world are you thinking, Mr. Lewis…and why do you want to know why I want my money? America and I need to know.

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