Lacking Grace


I got my Bank of America credit card bill last week. I had had a balance of $54.01, and I paid it off. Or so I thought. I get the bill and I have a balance of $1.50. I figured that, damn, I must have miscalculated the payment, maybe transposed some digits. Nope. I’m now being given the privilege of paying a buck and a half per month as a “Minimum financial charge.” I did not notice this in the ream of papers that BoA had sent me recently to keep me informed of my “protections” in light of the new credit card legislation, before which they hiked my credit card rate. (Which is only one of the reasons I always pay it off in full.)

Now, I never actually applied for a Bank of America card. It’s in my possession because BoA, in its acquisitive phase, bought the bank I DID have a credit card with. So I’m not feeling a great deal of loyality for these folks. Still, I have over a quarter of my credit with them. And, as I’ve noted, all of it available. Well, except for $1.50.

Then last weekend, I watched The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from earlier in the week. His guest was Jim Wallis, the editor in chief of Sojourners magazine, which is a “progressive Christian commentary on faith, politics and culture. It seeks to build a movement of spirituality and social change.”

Wallis, who was touting his book Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street, explained that the bonuses paid out this year – $150 billion from six banks – could “erase the budget gap in all 50 states”, or prevent or postpone foreclosures until 2012. But these bonuses are a symptom of a larger problem: the erosion of underlying values. He says “we won’t get an economic recovery without a moral recovery” as well.

But what really struck me was his notion that the banks, such as BoA, had been offered grace by the US government, and by extension, by the American people. The response by the large financial institutions, Wallis noted, has been a distinct lack of grace. So, Jim Wallis fired his bank, Bank of America.

With BoA nickle and diming (and six quartering) its customers like that, I can do nothing but the same. Goodbye, Bank of America.

Watch the clip here.

“Higher standards,” indeed.

ROG