When Ann Minch told the "evil, thieving bastards" at Bank of America they could stick her credit card debt in their "bailout pipe and smoke it," the message resonated.
Soon after Minch posted her declaration of a "debtors' revolt" on YouTube, several blogs took notice. And after a profile here on HuffPost, Minch has been on a non-stop media tour, giving interviews to radio, TV, and print reporters on a near-daily basis.
Minch threatened not to pay off her credit card unless Bank of America lowered her interest rate from 30 percent to 12.99 percent. Bank of America surrendered within five days.
Minch's media tour continues -- and she isn't the only one talking. Dozens of people have responded to Minch's video with videos of their own and hundreds emailed this reporter to praise Minch. Some said they were jumping on the bandwagon and not paying off a credit card debt; more said they had too much to lose. But there's a consensus about one thing: Credit card lenders are soaking hard-up customers after a $700 billion taxpayer bailout -- people are mad as hell about that.
Excerpts from the mailbag:
"I just had my interest rate hiked the day after I paid the last bit of my balance in full," wrote Matthew Merkovich of Santa Monica, Calif. "I currently owe nothing to any bank. My credit score is over 800. Regardless, my rates just got bumped up. Makes no sense. If I was going to use a credit card, I certainly won't now. That will have to do for my own personal debtor revolt."
Ruth Pepin in Bluffton, S.C. shared a letter she'd sent to Bank of America:
I am in receipt of your letter of July 23, 2009, stating that my credit line has been reassigned to $3300 because of a history of delinquency with other creditors. I challenge your authority to do so based on facts that do not apply to this case. You are perhaps referring to an educational loan that I am repaying. I am a student and have received a deferment on repayment until I graduate next year. A deferment is not a default.
I always pay my Bank of America credit card in a timely fashion. I always pay more than the minimum amount; indeed, I generally pay $200-$300 per month.
Recently you raised my percentage rate from 5.9% to 12% for NO GOOD REASON. Again, I will restate that I always pay in a timely fashion in much more than the minimum amount.
Recently, Bank of America was in the news as having a 2nd quarter profit of several BILLION. Your profit is obviously based on your usurious methods of money-handling.
I demand that my original percentage rate of 5.9% be restored, and that my previous credit limit be restored.
Mary McCurnin and Ron Bednar, a married couple living in Rancho Cordova, Calif., wrote separately but said the same thing in their letters: That they consider it "un-American" to pay off their credit cards. In subsequent phone interviews, McCurnin and Bednar explained how illness had ruined them financially. Click here to read the story about how they divorced in an effort to keep afloat financially.
Here are some of the videos:
For the most part, raw anger is the only thing that comes through clearly in the "debtors' revolt" videos uploaded to YouTube.
YouTuber efrasier21mbf says he was an assistant branch manager for Bank of America for two years before quitting his job because "Bank of America will stop at nothing to turn an insane profit at your expense." He wants Bank of America to settle an account -- the offer comes toward the end of the video:
This woman says she's angry about interest rate hikes on various cards. She says she can't revolt against the "loan sharks" because her home is almost paid off: "I don't know what to do."
In subsequent video uploads, she seems to have figured out one thing she can do -- she transformed into a bear:
"I find it interesting how our lawmakers can bail out our financial sector," says YouTuber x684867, "and then during this economy when things are kinda tight our financial sector just kinda says screw you, pay your taxes, we need your money. We've lost a sense of humanity in this country."
"Folks, I'd just like to talk about Bank of America for just a minute, not going to spend a lot of time on it," says YouTuber saveamerica100. "It's not worth it. Actually, it is worth it. It's worth putting them out of business, that's for sure."