Felix Salmon

Hero of the day: Jackie Ramos

By Felix Salmon
November 29, 2009

Jackie Ramos was fired by Bank of America for being too nice to their customers. Of her three commandments — do the right thing for the customer; think of yourself as a customer; and do the right thing for the company — it turns out that only one mattered.

Consumerist has the transcript:

Every day I came to work and did just as I was supposed to: I collected. In fact, I was one of the top performers of my department, even outdoing those who were more tenured than I was. But something was wrong. There was something inherently evil about my job…

All the people that I’ve had to deny [repayment] programs to–they kept me up at night. All the people that I’ve pissed off with a $15 “convenience fee”–they kept me up at night. All the people who were dying, lost a child, husband, mom, dad, all the people who lost their jobs and sat on the phone sobbing to me that if we just gave them a little bit of help, they could make ends meet–they kept me up at night…

As my manager was escorting me outside she told me that if I needed a reference, she would highly recommend me to everyone. I received nothing but accolades while I was at Bank of America. Even while I was getting fired my boss told me that out of anyone she’s ever met I’ve had the highest morals and biggest heart she’s ever seen, and that means more to me than my job.

At the end of the day, I don’t have anything keeping me up at night. I did the right thing in God’s eyes and I’m sure that He’ll bless me. But [boss], can you say the same?

Why was Ramos fired? She stopped denying BofA customers the ability to convert their debit balance into an installment loan, while closing the account. (It’s called Fix Pay.) It doesn’t wipe out the debt, it just stops lots of extra fees being piled on top. One 24-year-old mother had just lost her own mother and her husband in the same week — and found out that she had cancer. According to BofA’s rules, she wasn’t earning enough to qualify for Fix Pay, which meant of course that she had to pay much more in the form of a 30% interest rate and $39 over-the-limit fees.

Let’s hope that John Carney is right and that Ramos becomes a star on next week’s morning-TV shows. Maybe they could invite her ex-boss on at the same time, to explain why Bank of America deliberately makes it as hard as possible to pay off your debts after you rack them up.

Banking shouldn’t be some kind of cat-and-mouse game where the bank tries to squeeze as many fees as possible out of you while you try to avoid them. Banks are treating their customers like the enemy (see Peter Goodman today on Chase, or of course the famous IndyMac case), and that’s not something which goes down well in today’s economy, where banks seem to be the only individuals or businesses making vast amounts of money. And yes, all of those profits were formerly our money.

3 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

I’m not shocked. I am about to fire a depository institution for treating me like dirt, and I walked in with six figures to loan them (i.e., deposit). If Large Retail Financial Services Firm Number Seven treats mid-sized depositors like crap, how low must the industry have sunk?What does depress me is that we retail clients haven’t fired them all en masse yet. B of A wouldn’t get very far if, say, a third of its deposits walked out the door tomorrow.


Thank you so much for reporting this story. More ppl need to see the video and learn what is really happening behind closed doors. After banks took bailout money, the level of transparency should have increased but too much still goes on behind closed doors. I wish our government would do more. Thank you so much, again, for reporting my story.


I hope she does do the morning talk show rounds. Except, I wonder: do any banks advertise on these morning talks shows, or the networks that produce them?

Posted by HAL | Report as abusive

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