Is Bank of America bad for America? An organization called The 99 Power seems to think so, which is why they held a large protest in New York outside the Bank of America tower Tuesday.
Locally, those claiming unfair practices by the banking giant here will descend upon one of , at 2 p.m. Wednesday. It's just one of over 200 nationwide protests scheduled on the day of Bank of America's annual shareholder meeting in Charlotte, N.C., according to Morristown protest organiers Move-On.org and Occupy Morristown.
"It's an educational thing," said Lew Schwartz, organizer for the Morristown Bank of America demonstration. "Their management is not starving, but their customers are and they don't seem to care, at least that's the impression we get."
The Morristown demonstration has been scheduled, Schwartz said, "to educate the public concerning the destructive policies that the bank has pursued, especially foreclosures on properties that resulted from the bank's irresponsible mortgaging practices."
According to a press release issued for the New York City protest, Bank of America is guilty of several crimes, including "foreclosure; dodging taxes; investing in payday loans, dirty coal, private prisons; and 'buying' elections."
"People don't realize what's happening to their neighbors apparently," Schwartz said. "If you're fortunate enough to be in an economic situation where you don't see this ... this is a major problem not enough people are paying attention to."
The organizer said there could be some legislative remedies for customers, in order to hopefully stem the tide of foreclosures. "We don't think foreclosures help anybody," he said.
Included in the scheduled protest in Morristown was a person who Schwartz said has been a victim of foreclosure, who would be performing a song about the experience at the event.
A meeting between the Rev. Allen Wells, of the Skylands Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hackettstown, and the South Street branch manager, also has been scheduled during the event. "We're not going to say he's at fault, it's a corporate thing," Schwartz said.
On Tuesday, Angel Busque, assistant manager at the South Street branch, said the bank had no comment regarding the planned protest.
"Everyone will be peaceful, nice and polite, that's important," Schwartz said. Though, he added, "Bad publicity is like kryptonite to big corporations—that's why thousands of people are protesting, marching and raising our voices in solidarity to draw the media's attention Bank of America's shameless practices."