You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 12:35 p.m.

Protest held against big banks in downtown Ann Arbor on Saturday

By Lisa Carolin


Ann Arbor resident Quincy Northrup holds up a sign asking for more bank regulation during a protest outside of Bank of America branch on South Main and Washington street in downtown Ann Arbor on Saturday.

Angela J. Cesere |

A growing nationwide anger against big banks found some support in Ann Arbor on Saturday with a protest outside the Bank of America branch downtown at Main and Washington streets.

More than 50 people gathered to protest such things as monthly fees for debit cards, tax breaks for the rich, and as they chanted, "Less money for banks, and more money for jobs."

The protest was peaceful and the bank branch remained open, although there were virtually no customers spotted coming or going.

No one at the local Bank of America office would comment about the protest referring a reporter to media relations spokeswoman Diane Wagner.

Wagner wouldn’t comment on the protest other than to say: "Bank Transfer Day is an industrywide event."

She did say Bank of America offers “many advantages” for customers.

"We have a variety of locations and the best online and mobile banking, which enables customers to bank on their own terms with us."

Today is being called Bank Transfer Day in a nationwide effort to encourage account holders to move their money out of big commercial banks and put their money into small banks and credit unions, which are not-for-profit cooperatives owned by members.

The main protest, organized by, occurred at the Bank of America branch. Other protesters also stood outside of the Chase bank across the street.

"Banks are not for the people," said Ypsilanti resident Lyle Tindell. "I belong to a credit union. Members own it and have a little sayso."

"I recently changed our checking account to a local bank," said Cathy Muha from Chelsea. "It's so much more personal. I try to do everything local."


Protest organizer Fritz McDonald, right, offers signs to Eastern Michigan University professor Gregg Barak during a protest against big banks outside of Bank of America Saturday morning.

Angela J. Cesere |

Other protesters spoke out against Countrywide Mortgage, which was taken over by Bank of America in 2008 after Countrywide announced that borrowers were delinquent on one-third of the subprime loans it serviced.

"I bought a house here six months ago and took out a mortgage with a local bank because I didn't want my mortgage sold to a big company," said Ann Arbor resident Quincy Northrup.

"What Countrywide and Bank of America did was outrageous, and no one has been punished, and their executives are overpaid," said Doug Kelley, one of the vice chairs of the Washtenaw County Democratic Party.

Bank of America Corp. was also a target of protesters because of a $5 monthly debt-fee it introduced on Sept. 29. The plan was dropped by the bank this week.

Many of the themes of Bank Transfer Day are similar to those of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

"If I lived in New York, I'd be a part of the Occupy Wall Street group," said Ann Arbor resident Patricia Ballard. "When you come out in force, it makes a difference."

"I'm tired of what's going on in this country," said Frank Raymond of Ann Arbor. "So many people are having a hard time, and it wasn't their fault. The people who caused their problems just keep getting richer."

Fritz McDonald, who works with and was one of the organizers of today's event, said that one of the main messages is to let people know that the current economic and employment crisis are not the fault of the workers.

"The responsibility for causing these problems falls largely on giant banks like Bank of America," said McDonald. "The power of these banks has increased the inequality between the wealthy and the poor in the USA. If we want to make America great again, we need to stop supporting corrupt institutions like Bank of America."

McDonald along with other participants planned to close their Bank of America accounts today



Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 8:59 a.m.

Barack Hussein Obama is a wholly owned subsidiary of Goldman Sachs. But don't expect the professional lefties (like the feather heads shown in the picture) to get a clue. They have also mothballed their anti war (actually anti Bush) signs while Obama has escalated the Afghan war and started a new one in Libya without congressional approval. If lefties didn't have double standards; they have NO standards!


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:38 p.m.

The Battle against Communism : I must thank Clownfish for sharing his view about the importance of home ownership as a tool to fight Communism. It was true in the past and not any more. I would like to draw his attention to the fact of foreign ownership of foreclosed homes and other foreclosed commercial properties. Chinese are the biggest players in the Real Estate arena. I read several stories which describe as to how Chinese investors are buying homes taking advantage of the low market prices. Bank of America is just a name. The Bank does not belong to America. It is a foreign bank and hence would serve the interests of its global investors. Theoretically speaking, if all of us close our bank accounts and move our funds to local Credit Unions, we cannot make a dent on the Big, and Powerful mega banking institutions. The reason is simple. Collectively, all of us do not have enough dough. The wealth is controlled by a small group of population. Secondly, the number of foreign companies operating in the United States has substantially increased. The Big Banks are flooded with dollars flowing into the United States on account of these foreign investors who own and run corporations here. All of us can create some good fuss and get some media attention and make the Devil to smile. To beat the Devil in his game, we must stop buying and using all foreign-made products and should not patronize products made by foreign companies operating on U.S. soil. A local product must have a local investor. If there is no incentive for foreign capital investment, the cash flow to the Big Banks will automatically stop and their CEOs would stop getting fat bonuses and perks. There is no easy solution other than that of getting back to the Era of American Individualism based upon the foundation of hard work, integrity, independence, and self-reliance.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:05 p.m.

THE COLORS OF PATRIOTIC DUTY AND SERVICE TO THE NATION : I am a product of the Cold War Era. The Leaders of my time had repeatedly stressed the importance of fighting and resisting the threat of Communism. United States had launched a global campaign to contain the spread of Communism in the Third World. I had very much believed in that Cause. I had joined the ranks of thousands of others to assist and to serve the United States to accomplish its Mission to combat Communism. Times have changed. Soviet Union has collapsed. Peoples Republic of China is the only Communist Superpower on Earth. However, China is a great trading partner and there is substantial trade and commerce between these two countries. If we carefully look at the way Capitalism is working, much of the public anger, resentment, and frustartion is generated by the forces of market economy which took away the manufacturing sector from the United States and have placed it in the hands of Communist China. Banks, and other Financial Institutions have become the tools in the hands of Capitalists who prefer to generate profits by outsourcing work. I would like to ask our present generation National Leaders to describe the Colors of Patriotic Duty and Service to the Nation. Do they still view "RED" as a color that represents danger to values that American people cherish?


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 7:12 p.m.

Good stuff! Also remember that home ownership was promoted as one way to fight communism. Fannie and Freddie had their roots in this belief.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:52 p.m.

The problem is, If I do not like how much Citi, G.S. Chase or others pay their executives as bounses, I do not have to do business with them. And I do not. But if we continue to ignore bad behavior of government we will get more bad behavior from government. Remember BF Skinner? Reward behavior and you get more of it. Look at pay plan for Freddie &amp; Fannie which are now controlled by US Gov. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Fannie Mae reported paying the following executive bonuses in 1998: chairman and chief executive James A. Johnson received $1.932 million; Franklin D. Raines, chairman-designate, received $1.11 million; Chief Operating Officer Lawrence M. Small received $1.108 million; Vice Chairman Jamie S. Gorelick received $779,625; Chief Financial Officer J. Timothy Howard received $493,750; and Robert J. Levin, an executive vice president, received $493,750. Raines and Howard were ousted by the Fannie Mae board in December after the chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission agreed with OFHEO's criticism of the company's accounting, including the 1998 bonus maneuver <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 9:45 p.m.

It was a long held practice that Fannie/Fred leadership positions were a parking lot for well heeled or well connected (read donors or former administration officials) of the party not holding Penn Ave. With Bush in for eight years, it was a Clintonite roost.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 7:09 p.m.

The govt is doing the bidding of the business community, period. Fannie Mae and Freddie are now private/public entities, with a profit motive, driven by the mortgage industry. They are guilty, along WITH the large banking institutions, along WITH the ratings agencies and the congress they purchased.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out if it is Obamas Communist tendencies or his Cronie Capitalism that is bringing us down. Is it his attempted appointment of Van Jones or his successful appointment of multiple Wall Street executives that are the problem? Should we have more business people in charge of government, as we have been told for decades, or is that simply a problem unique to Obama?


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:52 p.m.

oh u just have to blame someone!!! Research stop being igornant 2 the cause!


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:06 p.m.

Great to see people exercising their Right to Assemble and their right to do business with whomever they please. Funny to see people opposed to TARP defending the recipients of TARP, again! And even funnier to see people that support Citizens United opposed to Money running politics!!!! Too darn rich for words, really!!!


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

I am shocked! Shocked! that the government listened to large businesses over the cries of regular people and DE-regulated the financial sector! It must be entirely the fault of government, the banks were just doing regular old business practices, certainly no greed from the bankers! If lefties had just let the govt alone, the de-regulation would have worked! name salary total compensation Kenneth D. Lewis Chairman and CEO BoA $1.5 million $24.8 million Joe L. Price Chief Financial Officer BoA $800,000 $6.5 million Gary Crittenden Chief Financial OfficerCitiGroup $403,410 $19.4 million Lloyd C. Blankfein Chairman and CEO Goldman Sachs $600,000 $70.3 million <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> If only the greedy public sector unions had not been so greedy, the country would be in better shape!!

Don B. Arfkahk

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 12:59 a.m.

Actually I like receiving my pay in the form of stock options because when I sell that stock it is taxed at a much lower rate than regular income.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 8 p.m.

Almost all of the compensation beyond salary was in stock options. If the value of the stock fell, the value would be ZERO. Because the value of the stock rose - their total compensation was higher. Shareholders want stock values to rise, hence a large amount of the executive pay is based on stock options to give the executive a shared goal with the shareholders - &quot;you increase the value of the stock and make me money and you will make money too!&quot; I don't agree with the size of the option grants, but this has been the way public companies have done it for decades.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:09 p.m.

When will OAA protest the real causes of the problem? Cronnie capitalism, such as taxpayer loans to Solandria. Sweetheart deals to politicians who write bills. Sort of like Chris Dodd's, of Dodd-Frank, no interest loan from Country Wide. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Or Barney Frank, who said Freddie &amp; Fannie did not need reform. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Maybe fewer news organizations would not be struggling financially if the news organizations were independant instead of political allies of establishment politicians of both parties. As voters we should hold our politicians responsible for their actions. Maybe we should think about voting against a member of the senate budget commitee, who cannot bother to write a budget for FY 2011 or 2012. We should require Debbie Stabenhow do her job and create a budget for FY 2012 &amp; 2013, or vote her out and get simeone in her place that will live up to her responsibilities.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.

oops, that should read - SL crisis cost $150,000,000,000, that is BILLION, in 1980 dollars.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.

Where have you been the last 30 years! outdoors? ENRON- <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> --did you protest Bill Frist then? How about the SL crisis in the 80's? Remember the president then, who was that free Marketeer? That cost you and me over $150,000,000. ---&quot;WASHINGTON — Sen. Orrin Hatch, a vocal critic of the Obama administration's backing of a Department of Energy loan guarantee to solar manufacturer Solyndra, pushed for more than $20 million in government funding for a bankrupt clean energy firm in his home state of Utah. Hatch aides told USA TODAY earlier this month that the Republican lawmaker had never pushed for taxpayer money to be used for Raser Technologies, which operated a geothermal power plant in southern Utah and also developed hybrid plug-in vehicles. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in April, and recently re-emerged as a restructured company known as Cyrq Energy.&quot;-- <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> &quot;Cronie Capitalism&quot;= Citizens United!

John Minock

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2 p.m.

Alas, Mr. reader, the increase of subprime mortgages from 8'% to 20% took place in 2004-2006, as a result of the Bush administration's &quot;ownership society&quot; program. The Wall Street tycoons acted like riverboat gamblers with the fraudulent sales of these mortgages as AAA and other risky behavior like credit default swaps, and they gave us the financial meltdown in 2008. President Obama took office in 2009, when the legacy of the Bush era had already hit the fan.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

Mr. Minok can you please explain what a credit default swap is and how they were part of the problem.

G. Orwell

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:31 p.m.

It should be obvious by now. Certain banks control our government and many foreign governments through the creation of central banks (classic communist system). Why do we even need central banks? We don't in a capitalistic economy. Remember the golden rule. He who has the gold makes the rules. And, who creates unlimited &quot;money&quot; out of thin air?


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:58 p.m.

The best way to protest any organization you are not happy with is to NOT DO BUSINESS with them. Standing in front of their buildings holding signs is unproductive and foolish. You are giving them free advertising.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:56 p.m.

Yep, it all the fault of ACORN! When not the fault of Bill Ayers or Rev Wright. Yep, no doubt CountryWide, Indy Mac, Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros were simply at the mercy of ACORN! Good thing ACORN has been found guilty of...what again? Oh right, there are no federal convictions against ACORN affiliates. But, no matter, it is their fault.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:14 p.m.

The point of the protest is to divert attention from the horrible job and wrong headed policies of the Obama administration. Link &quot;Wall Street&quot; with the GOP, create a scarecrow to swing at and reduce turnout of Obama opposition. Thats why Move On is doing the organizing with the help of the defunct ACORN groups.

Fritz McDonald

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:14 p.m.

The very point of these protests was to give people information on how not to do business with Bank of America and Chase. I personally closed my account with Bank of America during the protest and others did the same. In case you are interested, see the video here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;feature=channel_video_title</a>


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

Right. OWS and are totally separate entities that have nothing to do with each other. And it is mere coincidence that the sign says &quot;Vote Obama/Biden&quot;. If you believe that, I have a bridge for sale.

average joe

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.

They tipped their hand....

Don B. Arfkahk

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 10:03 a.m.

Banks create jobs and money. Without them you have nothing. Stop whining you liberals and just work in their factories. If you are lazy enough to be an unemployed physicist who has to take a factory job then you shouldn't complain if all you can do is eat and sleep in a dumpster. This is what you get for not being the best physicist in the world. And you should be grateful for that because nerds suck at manly work and it's probably a job your dad paid the boss to give you. Besides you should learn a thing or two from Jesus and know that you should desire no material wealth and not attempt to take it back from the your living gods or you will burn in hell and get poked with an oversized spork for eternity by a walking talking sunburned man-pig beast. So put down your silly signs before you get steamrolled by a tank. The capitalist knows that the only value you have to him is your ability to sell him your power to do work. One who refuses to work is therefore of no value whatsoever and is in fact an irritation and will casually be eliminated. If you do not accept this the consequences will be severe. I suggest you start being thankful there's raccoons willing to share their dumpsters - because the capitalists find no reason to share theirs.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 9:16 a.m.

Hold on... can someone explain to me exactly what makes everyone in the banking industry evil? I get that 'predatory loans' are bad practice, but next to that, what have they done that's violated the law?

G. Orwell

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:05 a.m.

@average joe Here you go. The whole thing is a fraud just like the Lincoln Savings and Loan but much larger. Most people don't realize it because it is too hard to comprehend. Listen to the expert. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

Why did the pols put the laws into place? Because &quot;we&quot; wanted de-regulation, wanted the govt to &quot;run like a business&quot; and wanted money to equal political influence. And &quot;we&quot; got everything we wanted, and now it is someone else's fault!! If only the govt had ignored their Citizens United type sponsors!

average joe

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:12 p.m.

G.O.- No, you didn't answer Dave's question. He asked what have they done to violate the law. Even though I don't dispute the things you have listed, pretty much everything you say the banks did was in accordance to the laws that our fine politicians put into place.

G. Orwell

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.

Certain mega banks broke numerous laws and changed/got rid of some laws with the help of Democrat and Republicans in order to sell their mortgage backed junk as AAA rated instruments (obviously the rating agencies were in on the scam to fool the public). Then the banks, at the height of the real estate bubble, imploded it. Once imploded, the got our bought politicians to give them trillions in loans. At the same time, severely limiting credit to the public and small businesses. Sending the economy into a depression. On the other hand, paying themselves tens of billions in bonuses. Some or much of this was intentional to gain greater control over our economy and us. Things might have got out of hand because there isn't enough money in the world to pay off $1,500,000,000,000,000 in bad loans. Does that answer your question?

Cynthia Shih

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:50 a.m.

I participated in the protest today AND closed my account with Bank of America. Neither of these were easy decisions. Here's why I did it: I'm an MBA student recruiting for corporate jobs, and I want to work in a system that truly creates wealth and value for all levels of our society. How do we get that system? Make better rules for the game. Pass laws that make doing right by the 99% a winning business strategy. Shift the balance of influence so that corporations still have a seat at the negotiating table, but politicians can act independently of their support. Government and industry will move in this direction if they have to—if they have public outcry and a customer exodus to contend with. So today I decided to add my voice to that mix, in hopes that it'll grow loud enough to trigger lasting change. I know it's not a black-and-white issue. Bank of America took on Countrywide and Merrill Lynch under government pressure, and it's been trying to get back to financial health. Sometimes that requires tough decisions like layoffs and raising fees. And as many have pointed out, taking out a mortgage you can't afford is a form of greed, too. So I was uncomfortable with some of today's chants like &quot;people not profits&quot; and &quot;less money for banks, more money for jobs.&quot; These things aren't mutually exclusive—when capitalism works properly, they're mutually beneficial. But there are compassionate, fair ways to tackle these challenges and there are insensitive, underhanded ways; Bank of America (like several other major banks) has taken too much of the latter approach for me to remain a customer anymore. The employees who helped close my account were all courteous and helpful, and said they would miss me. I'll miss them too.

Cynthia Shih

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:40 p.m.

Patriot: I have had my own business for the past 8 years before coming back to school—and you're right, it's great being able to do things &quot;right.&quot; But it's a small business; ultimately its impact is limited to a few people. In a large corporation, if I work my way up, I'll be able to do more: provide thousands of secure jobs, for example, or lead the company's environmental sustainability efforts. And companies who do business with integrity should rightly get a seat at the legislative table, so eventually I might even be able to help shape new laws and regulations. That's the career I'm aiming for now (even if I'll miss the autonomy of running my own show sometimes).


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.

Patriot, would you agree that no where is it written that tax rates have to be fair or equitable, then?

Fritz McDonald

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

Thanks Cynthia. Did you see the TV news report? <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;feature=channel_video_title</a>


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

So start your own business and make your own rules. No where does it say you have to work for anyone or any company 9you have that choice) and if you want better - go do it yourself. If your ideas are right and others agree - then you will make it. If not, you will fail. No one said life is fair or equatable.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:34 a.m.

You should not do &quot;cash-out refinancing,&quot; which increases your debt and, as we have seen in this real estate crisis, could lead to disaster. Only refinance with out cash out, check out &quot;Official Refinance&quot; for more refinance tips


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:39 a.m.

Oh, Obama is out to destroy the country, oh Obama is out to destroy the economy, oh Obama is a Marxist, a socialist, a Kenyan, he's ruining our foreign policy, etc. The people who rant this garbage do so in nearly every post, off topic, without facts, or twisted context, and if you attempt to clarify or ask for source material you get personally attacked, or the mainstream media is attacked. Obama is just blamed for everything under the sun. LoL.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:25 a.m.

@clownfish: I'm sure CBG will get back with you. But if I may offer a few ideas, for starters, and just in recent times, do Fast and Furious and Solyndra mean anything to you? Some &quot;transparency&quot; there! Further back, we had Obamacare jammed down our throats by him and his cohorts in Congress; I'm sure it will be run just as well as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and everthing else we try to master-plan at the federal level. The national debt pile-up in his first 2.5 years, over $4 trillion, nearly matches that in the 8 years under Bush. Now the great Community Organizer in Chief is trying to do an end run around Congress with executive orders to punch through his &quot;jobs program&quot; and other economic initiatives (read &quot;government waste&quot;). That's just for starters. He is a veritable human wrecking ball. But, I'm glad you and your lib friends are in deep denial. It breeds complacency in your ranks.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 7:19 p.m.

Charlie, specifically, what has Obama done to screw everything up? He has lowered taxes, continued Bush war policies, continued Bush's/GOP congress' TARP program, increased permitting for gas and oil exploration, increased immigration enforcement, mixed the business/administration of the country, hired ex-industry officials to run agencies, offered to cut entitlement programs.

Kara H

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

I think he was mostly blamed for things that happened during his presidency. There were enough of those that there's no need to borrow events that pre-date him. I personally will give him a bye on slavery and Princess Di.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:13 a.m.

Kinda like Bush was blamed for everything from slavery to Lady Diana's death!

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:05 a.m.

Well, when Obama has screwed-up everything under the sun then, yes, he gets blamed for everything under the sun. That's only fair.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:45 a.m.

Be careful. The liberal media is just giddy over this one. &quot;Finds support in Ann Arbor&quot;.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 11:15 p.m.

Holding a sign does nothing. Switch to a credit union or quit bitching about your chioce in bank.

Fritz McDonald

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

That's exactly what we were doing: <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;feature=channel_video_title</a>

Don B. Arfkahk

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.

All banking policy is dictated by where everyday slaves choose to put their piddling savings.

Cynthia Shih

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:46 a.m.

Some of us, in fact, did both. To the point others have made that it's poor regulation that led to this mess, and that fault lies ultimately with our lawmakers: agreed. What I was personally trying to signal by protesting and closing accounts, and I believe others were as well, was the unacceptability of the system as it is. Corporations will influence government as much as they're able; it's a sensible business strategy, especially for banks. So we as the public need to demand strong protections against undue corporate influence in politics; we need regulations that align profitability with sound investment and genuine value creation; and we need banks to realize that there are consequences for misleading or being insensitive to the 99%. Don't assume that a single act (like holding a sign) is all someone has chosen to do. It could be one of many things: writing to Congress, contributing to advocacy groups, voting with one's money, raising awareness. It's going to take a lot of effort on a lot of fronts to create the America we want to live in.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 11:13 p.m.

The mega banks are a threat to our democracy. America's four largest banks - Citibank, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and WellsFargo have concentrated in them $7.4 trillion in assets, equal to 52% of our entire GDP. They also originate over half of all home mortgages and provide almost 3/4 of all short term business lending in the U.S. The collapse of any one would endanger the American economy, even the world economy. They are truly &quot;too big to fail.&quot; They should be broken up. What is the point of having anti-trust laws when nothing is done? They also have too much economic and political power because of their enormous size and market share. The CEOs of these organizations, four people, can snap their fingers and cause anything to happen that they want to and order almost any entity around including our government officials. Few organizations would survive if an order from them came down to cut off credit to it. The government in turn can tell them what to do (remember the meeting where Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson told the 19 big bank CEOs to take this $15 billion in aid or we'll fire you?) Now they are all forever TARP banks (even though they paid back the TARP money) and Congress has the power to pass any law telling TARP banks what to do. So the political contributions come rolling in! How can our democracy survive in the long term with this concentration of money and therefore power into so few hands??? Unfortunately, the so-called Wall Street Reform Bill, despite being 2,319 pages, doesn't do anything to solve this problem, though it does have plenty of other provisions in it, which would actually increase the size, power and market share of these mega banks. I'm rather amazed at the poor job the media is doing in highlighting exactly what is in this mega-bill and how it doesn't accomplish what it purports to do. Why do you think Goldman Sachs and Citibank were in favor of this bill? Think about it.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:09 p.m.

Thank you for the explanation. Well written and clearly articulated. Maybe will follow up and write a real story about the banking industry, from a local perspective.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:44 a.m.

I understand the publics anger with the banks as it relates mortgage meltdown. But I wish they knew and understood that it was truly the government with their new legislation and FRB regulation that cuased the banks to change their pricing structures. I appreciate your time and the insight you gave me.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:33 a.m.

@Gorc: you are 100% correct that the Big Box retailers intend to move against community banks and credit unions too, in the future on both credit and debit fees. I know this to be absolute fact since I've argued about this very point with the lobbyists in DC who work for the Big Box retailers who dreamt the whole strategy up!!


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:14 a.m.

And those special offerings could force the community banks and credit unions to negotiate better interchange rates with the retail industry.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:11 a.m.

Mr. Ranzini -I completely agree that retailers never intended to pass the savings in their interchange expense to the consumer. They are only using the Dubin Amendment to improve their margins. Currently this amendment does not impact University Bank, but don't be surprised in 2, 3, maybe 5+ years the retailers find a way to decrease their interchange rates with the community banks and credit unions. Who knows maybe the retailer will offer special savings on card purchases to customers who use cards the lowest interchange.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:02 a.m.

@Gorc: I do not support the Durbin amendment because it was a ploy to enrich Big Box retailers at the expense of average citizens. They fattened their bottom line and passed NONE of the savings they realized on their debit card fees on to consumers. These are the same Big Box retailers who sell out American made manufacturers for a nickel a unit and instead sell only goods made in China, Korea, Japan &amp; etc. The firms that helped us lose 1,000,000 jobs in Michigan over the past 10 years! I believe that we should all shop local, buy local, bank local! If we do, we'll all be more prosperous, and the money we have will stay circulating in our local economy.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:49 a.m.

I apologize for misspelling your name.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:47 a.m.

Mr. Ranzine - please help me understand your postion, do you support the Durbin Amendment?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:30 a.m.

@Gorc: On Durbin: the Durbin provision only applied to banks with assets over $10 billion. The final rule was to be written by the Fed and the Mega Banks thought that they could get the Fed to write the rule in a more favorable way than how it came out. In this case the Big Box retailers had better lobbyists than even the Mega Banks. They are not *yet* all powerful. Citizens can help cut them down in size by moving their accounts.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:06 a.m.

I agree that Dodd-Frank unnecessarily imposes a lot of unnecessary regulation and financial hardship for all financial institutions. And it is a greater hardship for small institutions, such as University Bank, because they do not have the economy of scale to absorb the cost. But to say that the large banks welcome Dodd-Frank as a tool to maintain their economic prowess is not logical. Take the Durbin Amendment that is attached to Frank-Dodd as an example. This amendment allows the FRB to set government controlled pricing and restricts the free market to set the interchange rate between retailers and the larger banks (over 10 billion in assets). It does not make sense that the larger banks would endorse Dodd-Frank because it is costing them billions in lost revenue. It was the Durbin Amendment that was the flash point that caused B of A and other larger institutions to experiment with the idea of charging fees for the use of debit cards. And we can see how the public reacted angrily to the banking industry. Their anger should be at the government for the unintended consequences of this bill.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:19 a.m.

Yes, Gorc, the formal name of the bill is &quot;Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act&quot;. Here is an excellent overview graphic of the bill and the current status of the new regulations it calls for (most are still being written by regulatory agencies): <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Mega Banks like legislation like this because it costs a fixed amount for each institution to comply with each of the new regulatons. Mega Banks have huge volumes across which to spread the cost of new regulations while small community banks and credit unions see their profits chewed up rapidly paying for the increased costs since they have smaller numbers of transactions to recoup the costs from. Also Mega Banks have teams of lobbyists to lobby the regulators to shape the final wording of the regulations so that they are favorable to Mega Banks and disadvantage community banks and credit unions. This bill leaves all the final wording of each regulation to be decided by the regulators. Over 5,000 pages of regulations have already been issued from this bill and much more is to come than what is already done. It is also a Christmas tree of non-relevant legislation. I particularly like the section on &quot;Disclosures on Conflict Materials in or Near the Democratic Republic of the Congo&quot; and the one on &quot;Mine Safety&quot;! Wikipedia has an article with links to all the information you'd like to know about it here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>–Frank_Wall_Street_Reform_and_Consumer_Protection_Act


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:22 a.m.

Is the &quot;Wall Street&quot; reform bill you are referring to the Dodd-Frank bill?


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 11:01 p.m.

This demonstration is great. We need more of these. The root cause of the economic woes of this country lie in Wall Street, the banking industry, and mortgage lenders. I thank all those who took part in this protest.

Don B. Arfkahk

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:36 a.m.

Specifically, considering an average 60 hour work week, factoring in my $60,000,000 salary and the accounting, I made over $30,000 per hour. That's $500 every second. Which is luckily how often I drink a bottle of White Meritage.

Don B. Arfkahk

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:31 a.m.

I forgot to mention that I also enjoyed making more per hour than most make per year, in addition to the fine work by my sworn team of accountants.

Don B. Arfkahk

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:27 a.m.

I actually have worked as an executive in a large bank. I rather enjoyed having the power to shut down anyone instantly by cutting them off from credit. I didn't have to do anything physically - just click a button saying they couldn't have some imaginary numbers, and then walah, suddenly, neighbors would no longer go out and do things for each other, sell each goods or make products - they were all unemployed, miserable, they caved and gave into my newly raised interest rate and fee plan. Just sitting in that chair I was able to take double digit percentages of the net wealth produced in the country just by giving people permission to exchange the value of the products of their labor. Amazing.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:59 a.m.

They also are a root cause of our prosperity. Who do you think doles out the loans that create the businesses that create the jobs that employ you, me, and 150 million other Americans? Big banks are sleazy, manipulative, and underhanded. I get that. But they also are an extremely important part of our economy.

Rachel Styles

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:22 p.m.

Americans blame the federal government more for the nation's economic plight than they do the primary target of the Occupy Wall Street protests --- big financial institutions. If you don't know why people are protesting on wall street, this article gives a very good explanation on it. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:58 p.m.

Rachel you forget that Congress sets the playing rules and referees the game through the Securities Exchange Commission.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:38 a.m.

Then the OWS are in the wrong place. According to a study by economists James Galbraith and Travis Hale, if you reduced income disparity between the 1% and middle class to &quot;average&quot; in just four counties across the United States, there would have been no &quot;income inequality&quot; in the last 20 years. Those four counties are three around silicon valley and one in Washignton State (Microsoft). And they are looking for an elusive target: according to US dept of Treasury data, there was a 60% changeover of the 1% between 1995 and 2005.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 10:36 p.m.

That link gave a horrible analogy. If you can't afford to pay for the lunch, don't borrow for it. Either save to pay for the lunch or go to McDonalds instead of the five star restaurant that you can't afford.

Denise Heberle

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:14 p.m.

I am a member of Occupy Ann Arbor, and I write as an individual and not on behalf of the group. While the updated version of this article corrects some errors, it fails to mention that the protest at Chase Bank was entirely independent of the MoveOn protest across the street, despite being expressly informed of the fact. The Chase Bank protest was organized by and consisted of Occupy Ann Arbor members. Occupy Ann Arbor works in solidarity with many groups, but is not affiliated with MoveOn or any other group or political party or candidate. Occupy Ann Arbor is a steadily growing local movement working to support the efforts of Occupy Wall Street. While we share many of the same goals and views as MoveOn, we are completely separate. Your article first referred to us as spillage, and then failed to acknowledge us at all, despite the good efforts of a MoveOn representative to correct the errors.

Wolf's Bane

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:51 p.m.

Protesting is nice and it is good to see, but if you really want to hurt anyone, vote with your wallet! Move your mortgage, credit cards, accounts to Credit Unions! Bless Obama/Biden


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

I was with you until the Obama/Biden part. THEY ARE at least 50% of the problem! Sorry your misguided political ideology is mucking up the reality.

Fritz McDonald

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.

That's what we were doing: <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;feature=channel_video_title</a>

Fritz McDonald

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:50 p.m.

This story has been updated, but it still needs more information. The updated story states: &quot;The main protest, organized by, occurred at the Bank of America branch. Other protesters also stood outside of the Chase bank across the street.&quot; The was not &quot;the main protest,&quot; it was one of two separate protests. The other protest at the Chase bank was organized by Occupy Ann Arbor. In fact, there were, I believe, more protestors at the Occupy Ann Arbor protest than there were at the protest that I had organized. So, I would strongly suggest you revise the story to make it clear that the Chase protest was a protest of equal or greater strength and I would hope you specifically mention that Occupy Ann Arbor was the organizer of this protest. Thanks, Fritz J. McDonald

Joe Kidd

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:29 p.m.

Waste of time. If you don't like banks, use a credit union. Non profit, they don't look to make enormous profits. You have to make sure you find a sound one though. If congress wanted to protect people from miserable financial practice, they should end or at least rein in adjustable interest rates. No borrower should ever have to watch interest rates spike. We never accept anything with an adjustable rate.

Fritz McDonald

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.

This claim needs to be corrected: &quot;A growing nationwide anger against big banks found some support in Ann Arbor on Saturday with a protest outside the Bank of America branch downtown at Main and Washington streets that spilled over to Chase Bank across the street.&quot; The protest at Chase was a separate protest by Occupy Ann Arbor, not part of the protest that I organized.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 7:52 p.m.

Full disclosure: my wife works for one of the big banks in the area - so read the rest of this any way you will. While I don't agree with many of the policies and actions of big banks, it is important to find out more about a particular institution before you make assumptions that they are all the same. One of the banks mentioned in the article makes a corporate policy of giving back to every community in which it operates, and has given millions of dollars in Michigan alone. They match charitable monetary contributions of employees 1:1 and provide monetary donations when employees donate their time. They help local food banks and schools. I could go on. They are also an important provider of small business loans and local jobs. One has added over 10,000 jobs in the last year alone. Does this automatically negate every action that the protesters find objectionable? Of course not, but don't assume that they are all 100% evil.

Fritz McDonald

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.

I just want to clarify some things for everybody: (1) I was the main organizer of the MoveOn-sponsored protest at Bank of America and Main and Washington in Ann Arbor today (2) I signed up to organize the protest on October 27th. I was inspired at part by the Facebook Bank Transfer Day website. Bank Transfer Day, MoveOn, and Occupy Wall Street/Ann Arbor are 3 distinct entities (3) At the time I signed up to organize the protest I was not aware of the Occupy Ann Arbor protest at Chase. In fact, I was not even sure there would be an Occupy Ann Arbor protest at the Chase on Main Street until the group showed up today (4) I did not aim to step on the toes of Occupy Ann Arbor at all (5) I thought we had a good collaborative relationship on the streets today between the protest I organized and the Occupy Ann Arbor protest at Chase (6) I was the one who contacted the media, including and channel 7 (7) interviewed me around 9:30AM, before Occupy Ann Arbor even showed up. That's why Occupy Ann Arbor was not mentioned in the story. Had I known when you would have arrived, I would have let the reported know. (9) As the organizer, I did not create any Obama/Biden signs myself nor did I intend the protest to be at all an Obama/Biden event. The sign in the story here was created by one of the protestors who showed up for our event. I respect free speech and had I noticed her sign, I would not have told her not to carry it. I let all of the members of my protest speak their minds as individuals (10) Solidarity.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

What a lot of people aren't getting is that the two party system has failed us here in America. We can no longer afford to vote for the 'lesser of two evils' because they are two faces of the same evil. The illegal &amp; immoral practices, founded upon avarice &amp; greed are what is bankrupting this country. The Occupy movement is made up of people from the general population, not just one segment of it. We are all fed up with being told to tighten our belts, while the top percent in this country continues to feast upon obscene profits &amp; even more obscene bonuses for screwing things up and at the same time taking no responsibility for the mess created or solving it. Less taxes for the wealthy doesn't create jobs, it only rewards the culprits who brought this situation upon us in the first place and it's about time THEY tightened THEIR belts and paid more taxes to fix the mess they created. So I really wish these people would stop acting like victims and start paying to put things right instead of whiining about having to pay. What? you want to buy another condo in the swill alps or another bentley and you couldn't do so if you had to pay more taxes? What a shame! Meanwhile, many of us are watching our purchasing power shrink, our jobs evaporate, our neighbors put out in the street, and our children are looking forward with fear to less opportunities in the future. In the meantime, you have fatcats getting fatter and grinning like cheshires as they shirk their responsibilities and laugh all the way to the bank. Great way to sell out your country.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 7:40 p.m.

And just so you know, I speak my mind as an independent individual, aligned with no one and speaking FOR no one. I speak my mind and apologize to no one for my opinions stated here.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 7:39 p.m.

Don't confuse this Occupy Movement with any political party. The whole point is both parties are corrupted beyond repair. We Americans need a housecleaning &amp; the Occupy Movement is just the start. I think the silent majority is finally speaking out on it's own. Those who denigrate &amp; obfuscate it are becoming more apparent as the minority or being exposed as being complicit with the corporate powers that are raping our country and killing our prosperity.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

&quot;If I lived in New York, I'd be a part of the Occupy Wall Street group,&quot; said Ann Arbor resident Patricia Ballard. &quot;When you come out in force, it makes a difference.&quot; Does that mean now you don't have to make YOUR mortgage payment?


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:28 p.m.

I just feel the need to note that some of the protesters were Obama/Biden campaign supporters with Others were Occupy Ann Arbor protesters who are angry with BOTH the Democratic and Republican behavior toward the banks in recent years. I can see where the confusion comes from with the two crowds having similar messages in similar locations, but it wasn't all or Obama/Biden supporters.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:21 p.m.

I believe this article needs a correction: The Bank of America protest was organized by The Chase Bank protest was organized by Occupy Ann Arbor. Please note: I AM SPEAKING AS AN INDIVIDUAL AND NOT AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF OCCUPY ANN ARBOR. WE ARE A LEADERLESS (AND LEADERFUL -as in everyone is a leader!) MOVEMENT. But I just want to point out that, while OAA is in solidarity with MoveOn's actions today in terms of protesting the corporate banks, they/we are not one in the same. We are different entities that overlap on this issue. OAA would like to remain respectfully separate from MoveOn, as many believe there has been some confusion (mainly in the MainStream Media) that we are solely a Liberal movement. This is not the case. There are many among us who do not care for MoveOn, there are Conservatives as well as Liberals and there are many (if not most) among us who fear and want to avoid being co-opted by a political group, or a group affiliated with a particular political party. I would say to the article that, no, the BofA protest did not &quot;spill&quot; onto Chase bank, but that we were two different groups, acting in solidarity. We hold no animosity to MoveOn, or anyone who participates with them. We can work and exist in solidarity with one another, but OAA should not be seen as part of MoveOn or vice versa. Anyone and Everyone are free to join OAA and are highly encouraged to do so! Please see for more information Thank you, and solidarity!


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

thank you Maggie, there is an excellent first start Op-Ed in today's Washington Post by Kathleen Parker laying out groundwork on OWS and Tea Party. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:51 p.m.

Just Listen to What We Have To Say. Join us at our next General Assembly Meeting at the Michigan League, Sunday, Nov 12th at 1:00 pm and learn more about OCCUPY ANN ARBOR and OCCUPY WALL STREET.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:13 p.m.

I'm confused, now whos evil? &quot;Countrywide announced that borrowers were delinquent on one-third of the subprime loans it serviced.&quot; &quot;&quot;What Countrywide and Bank of America did was outrageous, and no one has been punished, and their executives are overpaid,&quot; said Doug Kelley, one of the vice chairs of the Washtenaw County Democratic Party.&quot; So having one third of your customers not paying back what they signed their name to and promised to pay back makes you evil, am I getting that right?


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:17 a.m.

Bear - Go out on YouTube and watch some of the Barney Frank rants against banks back in the 1990s and early 2000s for not providing enough opportunity for low and no income people to share in home ownership and look at some of the bills he authored on redlining and documentation for loans. I think you will find that Rep. Frank (D-MA) had a big hand in why the big banks did what they did. Listen to some of his threats made on camera to banks.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:08 p.m.

Bear without some documentation to support your claims your argument has no legs either. I have heard about the issue of lower execs reviewing/approving mortgages but that does not mean that was solely the banks error. The people who applied have to accept some of the blame too. If these practices were illegal, are they being prosecuted?


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 7:14 p.m.

No, you are NOT getting it right and your argument has no legs. Coupling the two quotes together doesn't equate. The practices of mortgagers, such as Countrwide &amp; Bank of America are deplorable because of illegal &amp; immoral practices geared to maximize profit at the expense of others. Things like robo-signing qualified names by unqualified employees, predatory mortgage practices, bait &amp; switch contract practices (where Countryside switched contracts on the homebuyer at the last minute, hoping they wouldn't read or understand the last minute changes until after signing it and the bills started coming in. The Evil part is the immoral &amp; illegal practices and the fact that it was industry-wide and the fact that NO ONE has gone to jail or bee prosecuted for the fraud propagated by these banks &amp; mortgage companies. THAT'S what makes it evil. You are attempting to tie two statements together that have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Quite a skewed logic, there. Also, I don't really care what the Vice Chair of the Washtenaw County Democratic party says on the matter.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

Why not protest the HIGH COST of education? Costs seem to be out of control and education continues it downward spiral. Why not protest the high cost of health care? I hope that Bank of America stops giving money to the rich Democrats!


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

I will be interested to see if there are any protests to largely left-wing organizations (IE: universities). So far, they have pushed the blame on the banks, which doesn't really make sense to me.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:07 p.m.

More effort in reporting, please! There was a MoveOn protest at Bank of America and an Occupy Ann Arbor protest at Chase Bank. This was not one protest that spilled across the street, there were two protests at two different locations by two different groups.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:14 a.m.

Michigooese - The BofA folks had better looking signs and a more photogenic protest. News needs to either be pretty or horrifying these days.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:27 p.m.

Come on, it's not's fault if they can't distinguish one group of angry, misdirected lefties from another group of angry, misdirected lefties.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5:56 p.m.

The problem is corporatism, which is just a polite synonym for fascism. Corporatism is the combination of state and corporate power. Look at the revolving door between Goldman Sachs and government offices for the most glaring example. All these &quot;green jobs&quot; programs, bank bailouts, etc are corporatist. If you think voting Democrat is going to change that you're not paying attention. We've gone from W naively acquiescing to his treasury secretary against his better judgement because Paulson is from Goldman Sachs and is supposed to be the &quot;expert&quot; to Obama's full-throat endorsement of corporatism with multi-$trillion bailouts and stimulus (read: paper printing) as far as the eye can see. The Tea Party movement came about because of disgust with the Republican establishment and terror of what Obama is up to. I'm sorely tempted to vote for Ron Paul this time around just because he has the strongest anti-corporatist credentials.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:14 a.m.

Rob, Tea Party candidates have taken out several Establishment Republicans in the primaries. It's a whole lot more productive to do that than to create a third party, as evidenced by the Democrats' fraudulent attempts to create a &quot;Tea Party&quot; on the ballot last election (enjoy your jail time fellas). And &quot;99% who are in support of Obama&quot;? Seriously?


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:09 p.m.

Are you crazy? The tea party movement came about because of disgust with the Republican establishment? The tea party is aligned with and co-opted by the republican party. Who votes in lock-step together? They are all in support of the 1% against the 99% who are in support of Obama and will be engaged for Obama in 2012, that's what is scaring the tea drinking republican establishment now.

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

Don't these people understand that banks have steadily lobbied the government for decades, and the lending crisis is simply a result of policies the government created - both Democrats and Republicans? Protesting against the banks over this issue is like protesting against a bridge that falls down instead of the fools who built it incorrectly. There's a lot of energy out there protesting, but it belongs on Pennsylvania Avenue, not here.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:12 a.m.

Kagmi - Please provide proof of your &quot;authorizing unqualified employees to forge qualified employee's names on documents&quot; I have read/seen/heard that robosigning was signing the documents without proper review by qualified people. Not forging signatures


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:21 a.m.

General, you will take from both &quot;Corporate Citizens&quot; AND Unions? Seems you are not dealing with what you were dealt with, but dealing from both sides of the deck

General Demitrius

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:12 a.m.

True. Corporate money had infiltrated both sides, but one party has taken it to the extreme, and encouraged it at every level, even to the point of inventing the &quot;corporate citizen&quot;. That party is the Republican Party. To expect the Democrats to unilaterally disarm is, I'm sure, your dream. What you don't understand is that ain't goin' to happen. We will fight with the hand we are delt, and dream of the day when we can make it right.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

Unfortunately, it's not just a problem of legislation--legislation is part of the problem, but illegal behavior by banks (behavior not sanctioned by any legislation) is another huge part of it. Virtually every major mortgager in America, including Bank of America, is now being investigated for &quot;robo signing,&quot; meaning they were basically authorizing unqualified employees to forge qualified employee's names on documents in order to speed up the process of approving mortgages. The result is that thousands (perhaps millions) of mortgages were passed without the legally required oversight, and are not actually valid. Of course, lawmakers could be partially blamed for this state of affairs, since in the early 2000s an investigative agency discovered evidence of rampant fraud and Congress basically told them &quot;we don't believe you, shut up and go home.&quot; Nothing was done, and five years later...boom, market crash! Another type of unethical and strictly bank-initiated practice was the predatory lending practiced by Countrywide, who in some cases made a practice of changing the terms of a loan at the last minute without notifying the lender, and then basically hoping the lender didn't read or understand all the paperwork on closing day and didn't notice the bait-and-switch until after the paperwork was signed and the bills started arriving. I agree that the government has had some really stupid/deplorable behavior in regard to the banks over the past few decades. But the problem is both in the private and public sectors, here.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

If this is all about not giving big banks any business because people don't like how the banks do business, I think that's great. It's wonderful to see consumers take the power that they have in hand; if everyone could coordinate a little bit to buy a lot less gas, I think we could drive those prices down too. What I DON'T get, though, is if people think the root problems will be solved by giving all the money to a different bank. Is there something about credit unions that makes them incorruptible? What do we feel the credit unions will do differently once THEY have billions of dollars? Or is it that the locality of credit unions makes it impossible for them to amass too much money? Can soemone involved with this movement/protest tell me the problem that's solved by moving money from big banks to credit unions, and how that problem won't happen when it's credit unions that have the money?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2 a.m.

@RUKiddingMe: The nationwide movement is actually to move your money to a credit union OR a community bank (those that are locally owned and locally managed). Why? The mega banks are a menace to our democracy and a menace to Michigan's economy. See two of my recent posts that illustrated these points: <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a>

Stuart Brown

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:08 p.m.

Less concentration of power; the big banks are really big--so big they are too big to fail. Not so with a CU, if they screw up, they get shut down. The big banks use the profits they make off of us to influence Congress in ways that screw us even more. I'm glad to see this movement spring up!

Joe Kidd

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:58 p.m.

I think good CU's are not as profit greedy as banks. I have been with UMCU and it has been great. All the fees are very reasonable. What I really like is how efficient it is to bank there.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:22 p.m.

In addition Kagmi, my credit union's board is elected by the CU membership.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:21 p.m.

It's hard to predict human nature--it's hard to say whether smaller banks wouldn't behave the same way if they became big. But there are two pieces of logic that go into the move to a small credit union. One is that local credit unions are typically more invested in the local economy, whereas national banks tend to be involved in national and global investments, which means they don't care much for local communities. Banks investing billions overseas are far more likely to contribute to a global or national economic collapse than a small union that has less power to begin with, and more of an investment in a local area. The other part of the logic is that if consumers &quot;punish&quot; banks for unethical behavior, regardless of who that bank is...well, that's really the only way we can directly tie ethical behavior to profits.

Michigan Reader

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5:35 p.m.

With regard to the fees and other charges the banks impose, you're free to go to the credit unions. Maybe if that happens, the banks will reduce the cost of doing business with them. It's a free market economy, and it regulates itself best. Also, freedom and equality don't co-exist. Where one thrives, the other dies. Yeah, there really SHOULD be equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.

Kara H

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:40 p.m.

@cb ghost--of course credit unions have fees. UMCU's are easy to find and understand and not predatorily large. See if you can find a similarly clear &amp; complete list of BofA's fees or some of the other big banks'.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:22 p.m.

Michigan Reader, who told you credit unions don't have fees? <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 7:04 p.m.

No, it's not a free market. I don't know where people are coming up with this fantasy. It's especially not a free market when it comes to banks. look at the charts and you will find there are four major banking concerns. How is that a free market?


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:54 p.m.

In a free market economy, banks and corporations don't get bailed out by the government.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

Why did the auto companies get loans and the banks get bailed out? Shouldn't banks be repaying the government out of their large profits? Maybe the people who receive a generous bonus and a large salary could chip in a few bucks.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:54 p.m.

Just today on the news I heard Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were handing out huge bonuses too.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:46 p.m.

A number of banks did just that, repaid the government. Some didn't, though, and did give outsized bonuses to incompetent fools.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:17 p.m.

I find it especially deplorable that immediately after receiving the government bailout, Goldman Sachs gave million-dollar bonuses to 900 top executives, while simultaneously announcing plans to cut their workforce by 10% with a focus on laying off their lowest-paid employees. Talk about a duty to the taxpayers!


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5:08 p.m.

This is ridiculos; signs protesting banks with a vote Obama Biden at the bottom Let me check- Biden as part of the senate banking committee wrote the banking legislation that made it harder for individuals to declare bancruptcy along with allowing banks to raise rates with no notice. Obama comes into office and writes huge checks to any wall street firm with their hand out The banks funded Obamas inaguaration !!! check your facts before you start yelling!! YOU don't even know what your protesting Your backing the banks candidates!

The Picker

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

My mother always told me not to hang out with the wrong sort of people


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:14 p.m.

Only one of the protests- that of MoveOn- carried Obama-Biden signs. The other protest, by Occupy Ann Arbor, opposes the corruption of both parties by the banks. Unfortunately this reporter has distorted the story. All of the pictures and information here are of the MoveOn protest at Bank of America, although 50 people were protesting independently across the street at Chase.

Michigan Reader

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.

The blame is shared by mortgage borrowers too. For every risky loan given by a bank, there was a risky loan taken by a customer. Also, you can blame the liberals in government, because they (the Justice Department) threatened to sue the banks and mortgage lenders for &quot;disparate impact&quot;, because the banks' credit criteria negatively impacts minorities. And, according to a Wall Street Journal editorial some months ago, attorney general Eric Holder's department threatened the banks again, threatening to sue for &quot;disparate impact&quot; if they don't start loaning to those with poor credit. The Obama administration is trying to ruin this country.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 10:11 p.m.

Joe Kid, Kagmi is referring to settlements that Countrywide had to make with the federal government (SEC for $67.5 million, and FTC for $108m - both record federal settlements) for deceptive loan and investment practices. In addition there are agreements to reimburse 450,000 homeowners for excessive or changed closing cost fees through attorney generals in 49 states. You would have had this answer an hour ago but I think the moderator did not like my last comment about a certain Senator from Connecticut who received a loan from Countrywide, then decided not to run for reelection, but managed to get his bill passed with Barney Frank and signed by Obama. Moderator, easy on the delete button, will ya?

Stuart Brown

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:03 p.m.

I thought the job of the banks was to determine if a borrower was qualified to take out a loan. Banks were and are never supposed to lend to unqualified individuals; the job of banks is to not lend to people who are attempting to take on more loan than they can handle. That is why blaming the borrower for living beyond his/her means is a specious argument; the borrower should only be cleared for a loan if they are spending within their means at the time of the loan origination.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:52 p.m.

Kagmi, your comments are interesting but I would like to see some valid documentation on two of your claims. Do you have a reference to support this: &quot;Countrywide, conversely, is being investigated for a uniquely despicable kind of &quot;predatory lending,&quot; where they would literally change the terms of a loan at the last minute without notifying the borrower, and hope that the borrower didn't read through all the paperwork at the actual day-of signing. &quot; And this: &quot;In the early 2000s, these gross breaches of legality were discovered by an investigative commission, and Congress basically told the commission to shut up and go home.&quot;


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:10 p.m.

That was supposed to be @james.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:10 p.m.

@Michigan Reader They paid back their loans so that they could award bonuses to their CEOs and other upper level management. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> &quot;&quot;We owe taxpayers our thanks&quot; said Bank of America. Citibank said &quot;we owe ... taxpayers a debt of gratitude.&quot; And while there no reason to think that's not true, the fact is the paybacks also allow both banks to escape the bonus limitations about to be imposed by Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg.&quot;


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:01 p.m.

goblue1984, get your facts straight: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> The bank of america paid back their loans. Has this been conveniently been forgotten? This is why I can't take the movement seriously.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:53 p.m.

@Michigan Reader The bank bailouts were done with tax payer dollars. You, me and everyone else who pays taxes bailed them out. Get your facts straight.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:16 p.m.

It could be said that some cases of foreclosure could have been avoided by the borrower thinking more cautiously. However, there are also rampant cases of illegal and deceptive practices, especially by Bank of American and Countrywide. Virtually all major U.S. mortgagers are currently being investigated for &quot;robo signing,&quot; basically forgery where the banks authorized unqualified employees to sign other employee's names on mortgage documents without having those documents reviewed by qualified employees. This is a gross violation of mortgage regulations and this kind of time-and-money-saving &quot;corner cutting&quot; has been discovered in a large percentage of mortgages made of the last ten years. One former overwriter for Citibank estimated that during his tenure in the mid-2000s, as many as 60% of Citibank mortgages had something wrong with them. Countrywide, conversely, is being investigated for a uniquely despicable kind of &quot;predatory lending,&quot; where they would literally change the terms of a loan at the last minute without notifying the borrower, and hope that the borrower didn't read through all the paperwork at the actual day-of signing. In the early 2000s, these gross breaches of legality were discovered by an investigative commission, and Congress basically told the commission to shut up and go home. No action was taken. Five years later...boom, market crash! Just sayin. A big portion of this is not the consumer's fault, and I daresay it's not the liberals fault since it was a -lack- of enforcement of government regulations that led to many of these cases.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

&quot;The Obama administration is trying to ruin this country.&quot; Yes. That's their goal. At least for those who live in the Alice-Through-the-Looking-Glass world of teapartyland. Good Night and Good Luck

Michigan Reader

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5:30 p.m.

With regard to the fees, etc, that the banks charge, it's a free market economy. Go to the credit unions en masse and the banks may drop the fees. That's how the free market works. Freedom and equality don't co-exist. Where one thrives, the other dies.

Michigan Reader

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5:26 p.m.

@GoBlue1984--You're free to bail her out. BTW, the bank bailouts were done by the government for the governments sake. Bush didn't want the country to collapse on HIS watch.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5:17 p.m.

&quot;The blame is shared by mortgage borrowers too. For every risky loan given by a bank, there was a risky loan taken by a customer.&quot; Banks were given bailouts for their risk taking. Where is my 88 year old mother's bail out?


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

Well done everyone! I'm proud of each and every one of you out there! Bank of America is currently foreclosing on my 88 year old mother's house and they've tried everything to get her to abandon her house so that they can take it earlier than the redemption period allows. We actually had to get an attorney involved and file several complains against the bank for illegal foreclosure practices. They are completely and utterly despicable. Thank you for getting out there today and letting your voices be heard. As one side at an Occupy movement said, &quot;The Beginning Is Near...&quot;


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

GoBlue, the problem is, your story doesn't make a lot of sense. So you filed bankruptcy due to medical bills, that doesn't affect your home, which should be paid for, however if not, the bankruptcy would take care of ALL creditors and then your mother could make the payments on the house. Sorry it happened, if BOA is really beating down the doors early, I feel for you. But, as with most others who commented, I don't get it.

Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

someting is puzzling me here: &quot;currently foreclosing on my 88 year old mother's house.&quot; that means that there is an outstanding debt, right? if your ptx had a 30 yr fixed mortgage it ought to be damn near paid off by now since they would have started it whe your mother was 58 (but i presume much earlier) ... or ... thre was a 2nd mortgage taken out 'recnetly' ... about which noth9ing has been said. [nothing herein, in any way, chould be interpreted as some soert of absolution of balnkety-blank-of-amerika's conduct ... it suckx!] however, as a son/daughter ... are you unable to assist in the payment sked? and prevent/prohibit those balnkety-blank-banks from folowing though?


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:50 p.m.

Go Blue I do sympathize. I 1st thought you felt it unfair she was foreclosed on. I do agree the bank is breaking the l;aw if those tactics were used. I do know a little about foreclosure having had a close relative go through Cash for Keys and Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure after a few months.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:26 p.m.

I've shared enough of my story now. There are apparently some people on here who don't know a lot about foreclosures and who are all too willing to give the bank the benefit of the doubt. There's a reason these banks are being sued for illegal foreclosure practices... and it's not because a bunch of deadbeats have sour grapes. A bank is NOT above the law and hopefully when these lawsuits finally conclude the bank will have received the message.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:13 p.m.

@ Joe Kidd &quot; I can't offer much sympathy or believe your claim the bank is despicable without some more info.&quot; I'm not looking for your sympathy. People just need to know that this is happening. The banks are getting away with disgusting abuses of the law with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Once we hired an attorney Bank of America's tone changed dramatically. The calls have FINALLY stopped and they have confirmed that they, too, are aware of the laws in Michigan (redemption laws). It shouldn't take an attorney to get the bank to abide by the law. Unfortunately, it did. I'm also not going to publicly disclose anything that could provide information about who my mom is because she is embarrassed and heart broken enough. You can believe me or not believe me if you want. I really don't care. The banks got bailed out and the people got sold out. That's a fact.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:08 p.m.

@Joe Kidd It IS irrelevant because the home is going into foreclosure regardless. That is not in dispute. My dad's medical bills bankrupted our family and now that he has passed she can no longer afford the house. She tried to refinance through HAMP, but that didn't work. We don't dispute that the home will be foreclosed on. What we DO dispute is Bank of America following the law. With foreclosures, the bank MUST allow the full redemption period (6 months or 1 year -- for us 6 months) once the sheriff sale happens. The sheriff sale hasn't even happened yet and the bank has been calling an 88 year old woman with dementia 10 times a day lying to her (saying if she doesn't get out they are going to take her home and auction off her possessions). How DARE they!? The law is the law and Bank of America IS NOT ABOVE IT! We have followed the law here -- we understand the house will be taken. We want the bank to follow the law now as well. In Michigan, they MUST give the homeowner the full redemption period and they cannot try to intimidate people into leaving their homes so that they can 'foreclose quicker'. It's a disgusting violation of the law and it is happening way too often these days. When will THEY be held accountable!?

Joe Kidd

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:38 p.m.

&quot;When she made her last payment is completely irrelevant.&quot; No, it's not at all irrelevant. When I read your original post, I had the same question posed by both Cinnabar and JCJ. A bank will not foreclose on a home owner current with their payments. Yet you do not answer that question. I do feel sorry for your Mother but if she can't afford the payments, what Cinnabar asked is a valid question, do you feel the bank should let her stay without paying? I don't see your point. What are you trying to accomplish? I can't offer much sympathy or believe your claim the bank is despicable without some more info.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:51 p.m.

Go Blue I did not intend to condone the type of behavior you say the bank used. But so many people will not admit that the banks do have a legal right to take back what is not paid for. In your mothers case 6 months. It is no different than making a payment on a car and then leaving the state with it.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:50 p.m.

cinnabar7071, She applied for the HAMP program (a program to refinance) and was approved only later to be turned down by the bank because they claim they didn't receive the paperwork (we gave up the fight on this because unlike the bank, we don't have billions in bailout dollars to fight them). We did, however, choose to fight them over the redemption period. When she made her last payment is completely irrelevant. The way foreclosure works, once you've fallen behind by enough payments the bank begins the foreclosure process. This process culminates in a sheriff sale (this can take months, maybe even a year to get to). Once the sheriff sale is complete, the homeowner has a redemption period of 1 year or 6 months (depending on the remaining balance of the mortgage). For my mom, this was 6 months. The bank CANNOT kick you out of your house or pressure you to leave during these 6 months. We aren't even at the sheriff sale yet and the bank was FALSELY telling my mom that she needed to be out in 30 days or they were going to auction off her stuff. She is 88 and she has dementia. It's very obvious when you talk to her that she is elderly and not completely with it... yet they called her 10 times a day and relentlessly threatened her to try and get her to leave her home - or else. The behavior of Bank of America is completely and totally despicable. They ought to be in jail for this kind of stuff, but instead they get bailouts and bonuses. It makes me sick.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.

jcj, in Michigan when a homeowner goes into foreclosure they are provided with a redemption period (the length varies from 1 year to 6 months - in my mom's case, 6 months). The only way the bank can get the home earlier than that is if the home is deemed abandoned (the homeowner left). They were calling my mom 10 times a day harassing her at all hours and even telling her that if she wasn't out in 30 days they were going to auction off her stuff. Completely and totally ILLEGAL! There is no defense for this kind of behavior, but somehow the banks are awarded with a billion dollar bailout while homeowners like my mom are forced to bite the bullet and do the best they can to get by. Thank GOD people are taking to the streets!


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:34 p.m.

When is that last time she made a payment? You are leaving out crucial information in order to make your claim. And that is all it is, a claim! Where are the facts?


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.

side = sign sorry

Tom Joad

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.

Proud UMCU University of Michigan Credit Union Member I wouldn't deign to walk into a bank, not even to ask for change for a meter, they'd probably charge me a fee


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

Amen. I love UMCU -- they are the best.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:42 a.m.

Since I am a downtown resident, I happened to walk by the protest this morning with my son on my way to do my wife a favor and offered them some words of encouragement. @Tom Joad: Some locally owned and locally managed community banks (such as University Bank) also have free checking, free ATM/debit card, free Internet bill pay and free Internet banking. I support anyone who wants to use either a locally managed and locally based credit union OR a locally owned and locally managed community bank. In addition to having various fee free accounts at our bank, I am a member of two credit unions and my wife is a member of a third credit union. (FDIC rules encourage bank CEOs not to have their personal checking or home mortgage at the bank they manage.) All four organizations provide us with exemplary services. Why pay $15 bucks a month for something you can get for free? Monday is also a good day to change your bank!

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:08 a.m.

The mega banks are a menace to our democracy and a menace to Michigan's economy. See two of my recent posts that illustrated these points: <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a>

Kara H

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

I'm also a happy UMCU member for the last 25+ years. My company has a biz account at Bank of Ann Arbor &amp; can recommend them as a local bank too. It's just important for consumers to understand that they do have banking options &amp; that not all banks and their policies are the same. It's a bother to switch banks to be sure, but it's not that hard if you want/need to &amp; may make financial &amp; civic sense for many.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:31 p.m.

Me too. Left once for a bank but quickly returned. Best deal in town.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>