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ONE WOMAN DEBTORíS REVOLT She Tells Bank Of Amer To Put It Where Moon Donít Shine September 15, 2009
(NATIONAL) -- Ann Minch of Red Bluff, California is getting a lot of ink these days and a lot of views of her video since she decided to stage a one woman debtor’s revolt against Bank of America.
The story is that for years Ann carried a balance of several thousand dollars on her Bank of America credit card, making minimum monthly payments of about $130, sometimes paying an extra $50 or $100. She says she's never missed a payment.
Bank of America rewarded her loyalty this year by repeatedly raising her interest rate, which reached a whopping 30 percent in July. For younger Americans who are unaware, it was not that many years ago that the only game in town charging interest that high on a loan was the Mafia (organized crime) as interest rates of 30% were against the law.
Fed up at this, the 46-year-old stepmother of two turned to YouTube.
"There comes a time when a person must be willing to sacrifice in order to take a stand for what's right," said Minch in a Sept. 8th video she made at home on her computer.
"Now, this is one of those times, and if I'm successful this will be the proverbial first shot fired in an American debtors' revolution against the usury and plunder perpetrated by the banking elite, the Federal Reserve and the federal government."
Minch announced that she'd be dumping Bank of America, refusing to pay off her credit card debt unless she was offered a lower rate. She explained that she'd been a reliable customer even though she'd lost her job as a mental health case manager. She said bank reps refused to negotiate her interest rate when she called them to complain a few weeks ago.
"You are evil, thieving bastards," she said in her video. "Stick that in your bailout pipe and smoke it."
The video made a splash online, getting links from all kinds of venues and garnering over 96,000 views as of Monday morning.
Minch said she fulfilled part of her threat Saturday, when she went to her local Bank of America branch and closed out her checking and savings accounts.
She took her money (around $5,000, she said) and put in a local community bank.
She brought printouts of web pages that had linked to her video, but a manager wasn't interested in looking at them.
No, we're just going to let corporate handle it. In fact, I don't really even need to talk to you," she said she was told.
Ed Mierzwinski, program director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, told one news service said credit card lenders had better be paying attention.
"Historically, powerful and arrogant corporations, often protected by lazy regulators, have ignored consumer complaints -- now social media tools are leveling the playing field for victimized consumers," Mierzwinski said.
"The old web 1.0 mybanksucks.com sites that no one found are being replaced with real-time viral outrage that will require big business to start treating consumers more fairly or pay the price."
The credit card industry made a villain of itself this year by benefiting from Billions of dollars in taxpayer funded bailouts and then thanking taxpayers by raising interest rates and minimum monthly payments, even on their good customers.
Minch said she hadn't been paying much attention to her account -- she didn't even notice when her interest rate went from 12.99 percent to 25.49 percent in January -- but that the more she read about the $700 billion bank bailout, the angrier she got.