Who's afraid of the big bad bank?

I was recently the victim of an extortion plot. I really shouldn't be talking about it, much less writing about it right now but I feel as though I should. I was afraid. I felt as if my life was on the line. So, who caused me such strife? Well, it wasn't the Mafia or the KGB. You're getting cold. The Latin King's, the Black Gangster's Disciples? No not them either. The Bloods or The Crips? You're getting colder. It was my bank. True story. I recently received an e-mail from my bank telling me that my account was $60 in the red. Apparently there was an automatic charge deducted from my checking account from some company that I purchased software from two years ago. I had no idea that once the two-year agreement was up, this un-named software company would automatically debit my account for another subscription. I was charged an insufficient funds fee as well as an overdraft fee of $30. Okay, I can kind of understand that. A week later, in the midst of trying to clear this up, I received another e-mail telling me that I was being charged another $30 overdraft fee. The reason they gave this time (truth be told I was so angry I can't really remember the reason they grabbed the extra $30) was something like, �Oh, we noticed that your account was in the red with an overdraft charge. We decided that we could make your banking experience worse by taking another $30. But, if you bring your account out of the red, by Friday, then we will forget this ever happened.� Needless to say, I was not going to oblige and all in all I was charged about $100 in overdraft fees. Maybe I should have had more of a cushion in case something like this happened. Maybe I should have moved all of my money into a credit union years ago. But, being a little broke sometimes isn't a crime and I was planning on moving my funds to a credit union soon. To say this little incident hastened my planning process, would be like saying I would never be afraid of running up on a huge bear hiking. Well, that's Bank of America (#BofA) for you and I guess I had to learn the hard way about how they get down. That's why when I found out about Bank of America�s Shareholder Meeting Protests in Charlotte, I smiled. If they picked on little ol�e me, imagine what they were getting away with on a larger scale. Last week, approximately 700 to 800 people visited the bank�s headquarters. Almost 100 of those protesting actually made it inside. The �Bank vs. America� demonstrators wanted to let Bank of America�s senior executives know that America wasn't too happy with them. Demonstrators who made it inside introduced themselves as shareholders and issued resolutions to the rest of the bank. Outside people made a joyful noise against the bank's financing of unethical practices - practices that included environmentally unfriendly mining in the Appalachia region of the U.S., tax dodging schemes and the home foreclosure crisis. A few PUSH Buffalo members who attended last week�s protest were able to get inside of the meeting and it was truly a sight to behold. Let's just say that between the chanting and the resolutions that were presented, the presence of the bank's victims was more than felt. After a while, Brian Moynihan, Bank of America CEO and meeting facilitator, began to take questions and inquiries from shareholders who were not seated with large groups of demonstrator shareholders. While it was perfect, it was a start and that�s all we were asking for � a new beginning. Organized by a super coalition called the 99% Power, the �Bank vs. America� demonstration was put together as a response to big banks refusal to play fair with their customers. The 99% Power includes community groups such as the National People's Action (NPA), PUSH Buffalo, SEIU, UNITE HERE, and USW. To some, the disruption of a corporate shareholder's meeting might seem over the top. But unfortunately in a Flipper vs. Moby Dick type of struggle, Flipper may have to resort to these types of tactics to win. Nobody likes a loud spontaneous interruption but a loud spontaneous interruption with a dire purpose is exactly what�s needed when you are trying to make a global change.