Bank of America tries to burnish tarnished image with ads

Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:41pm EDT

A Bank of America shareholder walks into the corporate headquarters prior to the start of the Bank of America annual shareholders meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina May 11, 2011.  REUTERS/Chris Keane

A Bank of America shareholder walks into the corporate headquarters prior to the start of the Bank of America annual shareholders meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina May 11, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Chris Keane

(Reuters) - Bank of America Corp, (BAC.N) under fire for everything from improper foreclosures to hiking debit card fees, is fighting back with advertising.

The bank is running TV, print and online ads through the end of the year in 12 larger markets, including Charlotte, Boston, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, as well as some smaller communities, said bank spokesman T.J. Crawford.

The ads describe the bank's charitable donations and small business loans, as well as its efforts to ease loan terms for underwater mortgage borrowers, known as "loan modifications."

"The campaign aims to deliver the facts about Bank of America's local impact," Crawford said. "Sharing the significant work we do at the local level and critical role we play is more important than ever."

Bank of America's critics were not impressed.

The ads are "irrelevant," said Kathleen Day, spokeswoman for the Center for Responsible Lending, a Durham, North Carolina-based nonprofit that advocates for homeowners. "The only thing that matters is that they and other banks clean up their servicing operations so they can do more loan modifications and never do the same thing to the economy again."

Bank of America and other banks launched similar campaigns when they faced criticism in 2009 for taking government bailout dollars.

Large banks have paid back that money but face continuing outrage over their mishandling of foreclosure paperwork, new fees they are charging consumers, and the continuing economic fallout from the financial crisis.

The "Occupy Wall Street" movement has spread from New York to other cities around the country, including the bank's hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.

WORKING TO HELP

The nation's largest bank by assets debuted the campaign September 26, days before it announced a new $5 per-month debit card fee and experienced problems with its web site.

An ad that ran Sunday in Charlotte carried the tagline: "We're working to help keep the North Carolina economy moving forward."

It noted the bank's contributions to the state, including $159 million in loans to small businesses in the first half of the year, more than 22,000 loan modifications since 2008 and $10.8 million in charitable commitments this year.

The bank does not disclose the cost of its advertising campaigns, Crawford said. In the first half of this year, Bank of America spent $1.1 billion on marketing, up from $982 million in the same period last year, according to its second-quarter earnings report.

Bank of America lost $7.4 billion for common shareholders in the first half of the year, as it set aside money to cover mortgage loses and legal settlements. It reports third-quarter earnings on October 18.

(Reporting by Rick Rothacker in Charlotte, North Carolina; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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Comments (1)
Isabel1170 wrote:
Bank of America will spend all the millions they want on useless ads while the American homeowner is stuck with the bill. No ad will convince a person with at least half a brain that BofA is a good or honest company. Actiosn speak louder than words and the truth is that Bank of America is pure evil. They cheat & steal honest people out of their homes and hard-earned money.

These greedy Banksters only care about themselves. They are only worried about not being able to fly their private jets and not being able to pay their billion dollar mansions. They make me sick!! They could care less if you are dying, got an operation, lost your job or any other unexpected inconvenience that might happen in your life. They need to be exterminated like a bad cockroach infestation that has corrupted this country’s economy.

Has the MAFIA ever cared about who they hurt while they conduct their illegal activities? Of course not! Bank of America and the other Banksters ARE the Mafia right now. They are Financial Terrorists! They are racketeering and no one is doing anything about it.

If you would like more information about Bank of America’s racketeering practices please read here: “Bank of America is a Racketeering Enterprise?” http://www.piggybankblog.com/2010/11/16/bofa-racketeering/

Oct 12, 2011 8:52am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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