Bank of America spooked by Occupy campaign

An internal email shows the company is closely monitoring the anti-foreclosure protests

Published December 7, 2011 7:24PM (EST)

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan  (Reuters/Jason Reed)
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan (Reuters/Jason Reed)


Here’s a quick coda to the Occupy Our Homes campaign launch yesterday: One big bank is reportedly paying close attention to the anti-foreclosure effort.

The blog Zero Hedge has published a purported internal Bank of America email warning all “field services” operators that the Occupy day of action Tuesday “could impact our industry.”

(I’ve asked BoA for comment on the email, and a spokeswoman says she is looking into the matter. I will update this post when I hear back.)

BoA field services operatives are advised:

  • “do not engage with the protesters”
  • “While in the neighborhoods, please take notice of vacant [Bank of America Corp.] Field Services managed homes and ensure they are secured.”

The email goes on to say that the company is monitoring the Occupy Our Homes website and “researching” a family featured on the site. This is all pretty much what one would expect the banks to be doing; but the email is significant because it confirms Occupy is seen within the industry as a real threat.

UPDATE 5:27 p.m. ET: It appears the email is real. BoA spokesperson Jumana Bauwens sends along this statement downplaying the matter as standard operating procedure:

As a matter of normal course of business, when we are alerted to activities that may affect our real estate owned properties, we inform our third party contractors.  This is standard operating procedure.  The safety of our associates and third party contractors is our first priority. It is the bank’s policy to protect and secure our properties for the investors who own them.  Bank of America is committed to helping our customers with home retention solutions and other foreclosure avoidance programs.  Foreclosure is always our last resort.

By Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

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