Don't Worry, It's Still OK To Close Your Bank Account

 actual Citi ad, released May 2001

Not sure if you heard but some more shit went down this weekend and some "former" Citigroup customers got in the middle of it. If you only watch part of the video, you see some scary ass plain clothes guy grabbing a chick who seems a little worked up about closing her account.

I hate the banks as much if not more than the next guy. And I just had to close my BB&T account a few weeks back; trust me, I was worked up at the time. But I paid her however much they overdrafted me at the point I stopped using their services (maintenance fees... bad me for having a job and not being able to get down to the bank before 4 PM when they close to close my account in person) and was on my way. I asked her if she wanted the debit card back, she said no, I could throw it out. Throw it out? An unexpired debit card? I shredded it and moved on with my life. All in all, the transaction worked out fine.

But last weekend a couple Occupy Wall Street protesters decided to head down to Citigroup and close their accounts. What they did from the time they entered the bank to the time they were dragged out of it in ziptie cuffs is beyond me. As far as I can assume, they must have been pulling some shit inside. See above: the BB&T lady really didn't care that I was closing my account. And here I thought I had a more frightening reputation.

Here's the video:

Of course, the sheep immediately began blurting out "THE EVIL BANKSTERS ARREST YOU FOR CLOSING YOUR ACCOUNT!!"... right. Like Citi has nothing better to do. They're busy creatively interpreting accounting rules, they don't give a shit about your $15 checking account.

As a private business (government intervention aside for the purposes of this argument, as we technically allow Citigroup to pretend like it is a real business and not a ward of our dysfunctional state), Citigroup reserves the right to refuse service, especially to people carrying signs and screaming at iPhone video cameras.

Here's the Citibank statement:

Citibank Public Affairs issued the following statement regarding today's incident: "A large amount of protesters entered our branch at 555 La Guardia Place around 2:00 PM today. They were very disruptive and refused to leave after being repeatedly asked, causing our staff to call 911. The Police asked the branch staff to close the branch until the protesters could be removed. Only one person asked to close an account and was accommodated."

To be clear: no one was arrested for closing an account; we didn't lock people in our branch - the police decided to close the branch; and we didn't ask for anyone to be arrested - that is a police decision.

The truth probably lies somewhere in between. The protesters were probably being mildly disruptive or maybe just a little annoying and Citi has a few friends at the NYPD (being a business in the district those officers "protect"). Still, the First Amendment doesn't apply on someone else's property if they don't want you to be there. Sorry.

In reality, the NYPD had to use NY taxpayer money to pay these cops to protect the lowly Citibank tellers making barely enough to afford living on the fringes of the city from a group of people angry at the wrong target.

It isn't brutality or injustice if you yourself bait the participants into behaving that way. It's just how the world works.

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.


Anonymous said...

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."
-Desmond Tutu

goldtracker said...

Ditto you're point about, "It isn't brutality or injustice if you yourself bait the participants into behaving that way."

I am of the same suspicion that they went in with an intent of disruption or in the least a "look at me" attitude that turned things sour.

The whole thing, news, rhetoric, poor economy, is really starting to cause division and mistrust among people. It's not a good thing and it feels more and more like a pressure cooker, I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

The accounting is pretty brutal...

Bank of America Takes Accounting Fraud A Step Further

So this "fair value" technique of "guessing" provided 72% of BAC's reported net income. The DVA of course is the income BAC is permitted to record when BAC's ability to repay its debt obligations declines. Both of those accounting tricks combined created BAC's $6.2 in reported net income. So BAC's entire reported income was the product of bullshit accounting maneuvers. Bonus compensation will be paid to upper management based on bullshit.

These accounting rules that enable the banks to report a bunch of fantasy income were put in place after 2008 with the intent to protect these too big to fail banks from the ravages of the marketplace. The people creating and enforcing these rules are the same people who have, do or will benefit from them. The people who pay for the damage these rules hide are the Taxpayers. It's getting really corrupt out there...

Anonymous said...

Nassim Taleb on Wall Street Protest, Banking

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Nassim Taleb, author of "The Black Swan" and a New York University professor, discusses the "Occupy Wall Street" protest and his view of the global banking system. Taleb, speaking with Erik Schatzker on Bloomberg Television's "InsideTrack," also discusses the need to apply the principles of "Hammurabi's Code" to the banking system

Anonymous said...

Bank Of America Forces Depositors To Backstop Its $53 Trillion Derivative Book To Prevent A Few Clients From Departing The Bank

Pardon's we meant the people's deposits: the same deposits which caused the bank's website to be inoperative for several days in a row after it was rumored that there was an electronic run on the bank. Why? Just so Bank of America can appears whatever remaining clients it has so they decide not to take their business to another derivative counterparty. And who is exposed to this latest idiocy? Why you. But that's not all: the FDIC, which is the entity backstopping the deposits in a worst-case scenario, is not happy with this move for obvious reasons. Yet even it is hopeless to override the Fed, which as Bloomberg reports, "has signaled that it favors moving the derivatives to give relief to the bank holding company." And so, once again, we see just how much more important the Federal Reserve are the interest of US taxpayers and savers over those of the banks that effectively run the Fed.

Anonymous said...

Rogue Government Traders

Any of this sound familiar? Yes of course it does. Unfortunately for
all of us, the story of Barings bank and Nick Leeson is merely
happening on a global scale. However, rather than one trader making
bad bets what we are dealing with is a gigantic credit bubble ponzi
scheme created by TBTF banks, or as Bill Black more appropriately
refers to them, Systemically Dangerous Institutions (SDIs) that now
needs to be covered up. This ponzi first started unraveling back in
2008 and rather than deal with it the best we could, global “leaders”
decided to bail them out with taxpayer money and guarantees. What did
we get for this act of kindness? A dead economy, monstrous
unemployment, 15% of Americans on food stamps and a frightening
reality that shows Americans are having a much harder time than the
Chinese putting food on the table. See this article
Meanwhile, what did the banksters get? They consolidated even more
power over their Washington D.C. puppets because now establishment
politicians are “in” the doubled down Nick Leeson bet with Wall Street
and of course they got record bonuses and no one was prosecuted.

This is how a nation descends from one of productivity and innovation
to ruthless, corrupt feudalism in a very short period of time. My
message for Americans follows up from my email of two weeks ago. The
reason the liberal mainstream corporate media demonized the Tea Party
is because it threatens the status quo. The reason the conservative
corporate mainstream media demonizes Occupy Wall Street is because it
threatens the status quo. These are textbook divide and conquer
strategies being used on the American people. Do not fall for it.