I caught a bit of this in the OR lounge on Friday morning.
Wow. 150,000 people signed the petition? Wow. And this 22 year-old woman with two part-time jobs started the ball rolling. Unbelievable. Wow. Bank of America must be shaking in their boots at this huge grassroots movement. Wow.
ABC News ran with it:
Molly Katchpole launched a petition against Bank of America, which was signed by more than 131,000 customers and counting, saying she would take her business elsewhere unless the company drops its plan to charge $5 for debit card purchases.
Katchpole closed her accounts, cut up her debit and credit card on the sidewalk, and left with $400 cash she says she intends to deposit in a credit union.
And MSNBC was, of course, all over it:
WASHINGTON -- Molly Katchpole has had it with Bank of America.
The 22-year-old cleared out her account, and cut up her debit card after the bank decided to charge customers five dollars a month just to use their debit card.
She's so mad that she started a petition to let the bank know the charge goes too far. In just one week, she's collected 150,000 signatures.
The President has gone after the bank, apparently of the opinion that he should be able to determine their business viability:
For his part, President Barack Obama said consumers were being "mistreated" by the bank.
"You can stop it because if you say to the banks, 'You don't have some inherent right just to, you know, get a certain amount of profit, if your customers are being mistreated, that you have to treat them fairly and transparently,'" he told ABC News.
"Bank of America customers, vote with your feet," Durbin urged in outraged reaction to the new "service charge."
"Get the heck out of that bank," Durbin exhorted. "They are overcharging their customers even for this new debit card reform. It is hard to believe that a bank would impose [such a fee] on customers who simply are trying to access their own money on deposit at the Bank of America."
Mr. Durbin mentions that Bank of America received bailout funds (conveniently omitting the forced assumption of the debt of the failing Countrywide Mortgage, Senator Dodd's lender of choice, and Merrill Lynch, preventing Merrrill from Lehman's fate). And Molly Katchpole, she's just an innocent 22 year old trying to earn a living at two part-time jobs. As sympathetic figure as you'll find. Just a young kid struggling to make ends meet. Well, maybe not.
Here's her LinkedIn profile.
Molly Katchpole's Summary
Newly graduated gal looking to ruffle some feathers, change minds, and have great conversations with fellow professionals in labor and progressive politics advocacy. [emphasis mine]
Persuasive writing and speaking, social media, leadership, research - labor and progressive politics, art and architectural history.
"Labor and progressive politics advocacy?" Whoa. She lists her employment as "Account Manager at Winning Over Washington". So I went and had a look at Winning Over Washington (WOW) to see just what they're up to. Turns out WOW is a communications and public relations firm. The list of clients? SEIU, NEA, AFL-CIO, Democratic National Committee, Democratic Governors Association, EMILY's List. You know, the usual broad spectrum of interests, from far left to farther left. Wow, indeed.
So Ms. Katchpole is an account manager at a far-left PR firm. A firm which might well be interested in demonizing banks in order to deflect blame from the failed policies of a Democratic administration, perhaps? Here's another website where she lists her job as: online organizing for progressive politics.
Now that took me almost no time at all. Wouldn't it seem that CNN, MSNBC, and the others that ran with this story could take a second to find out that this grassroots movement is the finest quality astroturf that money can buy rather than presenting it absent that important context?
Bank of America employs thousands and thousands of people. The cash they earn is how they pay those individuals. Or are we not all about jobs anymore? Oh, and about that $5 monthly fee. If you find that charge outrageous, then individually close your account and move it to a community bank or credit union. But remember, it's the equivalent of a monthly grande skinny vanilla latte with an extra shot. I'm fairly certain Ms. Katchpole knows that as well.