THE BLOG
06/08/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Take a Number B of A

Before the Obama Administration gives Bank of America a damn dime, it needs to lay down the law with all 19 of America's largest banks.

For nearly my entire lifetime, now at 38 years, large banks have gradually become predatory in nature; disguising themselves as being "better for the consumer" through size alone. Over that period they have gobbled up every community bank they could. The ability to actually have "a banker" you knew personally, and who knew you personally (i.e. a real relationship) evaporated.

In tandem with the attack on the personal bank, came the all-out assault on customer service. Personal service from your bank was replaced with McDonald's-like service, complete with bank employees who didn't give a shit whether your information was safe, whether you needed help or not, or even a motivation to fix a problem without spending thousands of hours on the phone. Hell, even when a fly-by-night ripoff operation violated your bank account through fraud, these banks didn't care enough to investigate, let alone pursue the money and get it back for consumers.

I remember back in college and when I was a young adult, being showered with credit card offers, and then unceremoniously being screwed by every credit card company I dealt with in one way or another. When the credit card companies became the banks, and the banks became the most ruthless screwers of all -- using debit card fees as their hook in everyone's spine; I was hardly surprised.

Then came the mouse-and-cheese-laden trap of asset management and consumer lending. These companies sold people mortgages, gave them credit lines, and encouraged small businesses to borrow money; none of which any of the aforementioned borrowers could afford. These victims of course became victims because they never had the financial training necessary to know when the bus was about to hit them, again because the personal relationship with the banker who taught us these things was no longer there. I know, I am one of them.

Finally, to protect themselves and get even more money in their coffers, they created cultures of greed within their organizations that inspired methods and processes for cultivating consumers through lies and deception at all levels. From the front-line teller, to the retail manager, to the investment banker, to the fund broker; all were taught to lie and deny better than a 70's used car salesman.

The effect of all of this greed was to inbreed an expectation of high salaries, inflated bonuses, Congressmen and women on-the-take, and government oversight that was a joke...literally everywhere in the United States.

This all needs to end before Bank of America gets $34 Billion more bucks, or any of the other big 19 get another damn dime. I want that money put towards giving small businesses, start-ups, innovators, students, and the average Jane and John Does of the world a way to fix their damaged credit profiles. This can only be achieved through active consumer education, programmatic financial repair packages for all, and massively-enhanced and strengthened oversight over the entire financial industry from banks to brokers.

President Obama and Members of Congress: Don't screw this up. Don't allow the big 19 or Wall Street to bully you into giving them anything less than a total reform package for the entire financial industry. We voted for change, and we mean it this time. The time for corporate stimulus is over. The time for stimulus and help for the American people takes higher priority.

To B of A and the big 19: Take a number. We are in line in front of you, and your business doesn't deserve our tax money until you clean up your act.