409512186_f392b6a872Bad news bears for Bank of America customers. You know that obnoxious function of their ATMs that eats your card for the full duration of a transaction — as opposed to Chase’s infinitely superior method of the quick ‘n’ easy swipe?

Consider it the ultimate test of your attentiveness, as there be thieves on the prowl. Berkeley police cite 23 different incidents over the last year in which unsuspecting denizens have forgotten their cards in the machines and been immediately victimized by scammers who hang around waiting for just such instances of tragic neglect.

The bank’s recourse thus far has seemingly been limited to raising the volume on the screaming beepy noise that translates to “grab your card already, dagnabbit!” Super annoying, yes, but effective? You’d think so, but people are dumb. Constant vigilance!

Image Source: Ryan01 under Creative Commons
Bank of America ATMs in Berkeley Targeted by Thieves [abc7]

Anthony Gaas said:
Oct 9, 2010 at 12:12 pm

There is a new film out, “Inside Job,” a documentary and supposed expose on the mortgage crisis and the resulting debacle on Wall Street. In Diana Newby’s review of “Inside Job,” I not found little mention of the underlying causal factors, whereas the review appeared to indicate that the focus of the film was on the mistakes of Wall Street and its minions.

What’s Missing From the Film

What I think is missing—and its omission may reflect on the critic’s unfamiliarity with the subject—is that the people responsible for opening the “barn door” are apparently not given their “fair credit’ in the movie. All the investment bankers (e.g. Goldman) and those that regulate them (Paulson) would never been involved with the “makings” of the eventual catastrophe, had the original perpetrators not instigated the entire mess:

-Activist groups demonstrated vehemently and provocatively at and in banks and lobbied Congress for changes in bank and S&L mortgage lending policy

-Congressional members of the banking committees sponsored legislation—Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) & its following Ver. 2.0—to require that banks make loans, that they normally would not, to low income areas

-The CRA also required bank regulators to include a “scorecard” that rated banks on how well they lived up to the requirement of making these bum-f*&k loans. Failure to do so would lead to criticism of the bank, limitations on expansion, and legal action.

If the above had not happened, and bankers continued to make loans using the same risk assessment criteria they have always used, none of the mortgage mess would have happened.

A default rate of 1% (of total mortgage loans) would be considered unacceptable by most bankers. Ultimately, 90% plus of all these new “sub-prime” loans may eventually wend their way to default. Had the above not happened, there would be no easy-to-get money to motivate real estate speculators (builders and new home “flippers”) to overbuild; there would be no millions of dead beat borrowers that bought homes they could not afford; investment bankers would not have had to add this flotsam into the sea of securitized mortgages; and the U.S. taxpayers billions would not have been spent for TARP and as well to rescue AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, banks, and others.

All of this mess started with :

-Congress and specifically members of the Senate and House banking committees trying to legislate their idea of social justice: everyone has a “right” to a new home.

-Both republican & democratic administrations allowing it to continue, because it provide a short-term boost to the economy.

Quite ironically, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank—chairs of the Senate and House banking committees & cheerleaders of the “new creative lending policies”—were instrumental in the crafting of the current financial services “reform” bill. When one of the senators suggested that the new law should require new homeowners to provde a minimum down payment when applying for a new mortgage, the ever political humanist Senator Dodd shot back, “If we require borrowers to make a down payment, only those people that can afford to own a home will be able to buy one.”

That one remark by itself is why Dodd and his ilk should be legally estopped from holding any position of responsibility in the civilized world.

Anthony Gaas
Mill Valley, CA