I think not. Bank of The Americas, maybe. This has been an interesting circumstance. Many of you probably know about Bank of America’s recent policy-change to begin offering credit cards to “those without social security numbers or credit histories”. Of course, they started it in Los Angeles county, they’ll expand it later this year.

It’s hard having that set standard within you. I don’t know if I can describe it adequately. For me, things usually fall down on one side or the other. Right or Wrong. And where it falls often requires action on my part. Emailing congressmen, writing companies, discontinuing business with companies. Bank of America falls into the latter. I cannot continue to do business with a company who is doing this. I don’t blame them for wanting to tap a market, but capitalism without some standard of righteousness is abusive. I am morally opposed to illegal immigration (I am morally opposed to many illegal things), and I can’t continue to support a company who is aiding, even encouraging this felony. Which brings me to a recent phone call…

Have you ever tried to cancel a credit card? I have, and am usually met with a series of questions regarding my decision, “Why do you want to do this? Is there something we can do to keep your business? Why don’t you just hold onto it for emergencies?” and such. I have even been conned into holding onto said credit card. It’s easier after a 20 minute argument with someone who is fairly pleasant (it’s much easier if they’re not). Well, I called Bank of America to cancel my 2 credit cards. One of them was an MBNA card I’ve had for 9 years (that they acquired last year). There was actually an option to for ‘closing your credit card account with our automated system’. What? Since when? Has closing accounts become so routine that we can now do it with the push of a button? Well, I didn’t want to take the easy way out. I’d had no response to my emails, so I wanted to account representative to put down a notation as to why I was cancelling my accounts. So I held. I held through several messages of “we are experiencing a high call volume. If you cannot hold, please call back at a more convenient time”. I could hold. When the gal got on the phone, I gave her my information and told her I wanted to close the account. She said, “Ok, that account will be closed, you’ll receive blah blah blah in the mail… Can I help you with anything else?” “Yes, I’d like to close my MBNA account as well; would you like to know why?” {silence} “I have a problem with Bank of America’s recent policy to offer credit cards to undocumented people.” She quickly interrupted to tell me that these cards were only offered after a long business-relationship in goodstanding. “Yes,” I told her, “I read about that. Three months with a checking account.” She quickly began her little script again for the account being closed and something being mailed. And that was it.

Now, I have a cousin who is a customer-service representative for Bank of America. When she heard I was having a problem with their policy, she wrote the following:

In order to get a checking account with the bank a customer has to have documentation that fulfills the USA Patriot Act as well as the Know Your Customer (to prevent money laundering). Which means that they have to show some sort of proof that they are not in the country illegally. We can not open a checking account with out that proof, and the only way that one of those customers can get a credit card with us is to have a checking account in good standings with the bank for at least three months. This has generated a lot of negative news coverage, but the news isn’t telling the whole story. When I get back to work on Tuesday I’ll look on our company’s information stations (A.K.A. ACE) and get the exact information about what is needed to open a checking, cause only those who have a checking account can have that credit card. (emphasis mine)

Some sort of proof that they are not in the country illegally? Huh? This whole thing would bee a moot point if that were true. Their pilot program wouldn’t have to be in LA if it were true. How will these people establish a credit history? When I run someone’s credit, I use their social security number. Hmm.. I’m sure they’ve got a system to deal with it, but geez. And when they run up a few thousand, and can’t afford the 21% interest, and hit the road for greener pastures, who will be stuck with the bill? By the way, I haven’t heard back from my cousin yet.

Now, I still feel yoked to the devil here, because my car loan is with Bank of America. So far, no other bank I’ve talked to can even come close to the interest rate I have, and a higher rate would be really hard on the family budget. Here’s where the rubber meets the road with my moral compass, I guess.

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