A Shot Across the Bow (Debtors’ Revolt Watch)

Even though there has been an increasing level of revolutionary saber-rattling in comments, it’s hard to see what the outlet for the anger against the banking industry will be. The brief surge of letter-writing, e-mails, and calls to Congressmen to forestall the TARP proved useless. But Americans don’t go to the barricades or do general strikes, much the less put heads on pikes.

But this sort of revolt does fit, that of a debtors’ strike. It doesn’t require violence or even public assembly.

The first test of public mood will be whether this video (hat tip Karl Denninger via reader Scott) goes viral.

If you do decide to go this route, check your state’s statue of limitations on this type of debt. And even after that time has passed, if you establish a new relationship with the institution (as in get a new credit card or open a bank account), my understanding is that they can reactivate the obligation. Of course, anyone who gets in this sort of fight would presumably never want to do business with that institution again, but a lot of retailers and affinity groups have cards that are operated by one of the big credit card issuers, so you need to be careful.

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    1. Nanamurphy

      Since I am retired, I stopped paying on ALL my credit cards about 6 years ago. I closed out my Savings Account, and kept my Checking Acct as I have Direct Deposit for my SS Retirement Benefits Check and my Pension check – both of which can NOT be attached by any Bill Collector. I own and live in my own home – also unattachable by State Law (NY) I have plenty of money to pay cash for whatever I need or want and the Bill Collectors can NOT touch me – I am Judgment Proof!!!!!! It is great to be debt free and retired!!!!!

  1. moslof

    The fact that this video has been deemed noteworthy indicates that social mood and therefore the markets are have topped again. We have come full circle from the Sixties when young people borrowed money, not to buy things, just to pay it back and establish good credit. And that was after thirty years of economic expansion!

  2. Trainwreck

    Well she really fell on her face when she confused Ken Lay for Ken Lewis, but hey maybe the masses will not notice or care.

    1. Alexandra

      No she didn’t. She recognizes the patterns very well. They are the same for Enron and the rest of the economy. So it really doesn’t matter what name the chief shill actually has. They are interchangeable.

    2. chad

      I agree, and i fell on my face using “are” when i should have used “is” in my comment. Oh well, at least it’s YouTube where good grammar isn’t even the norm let alone expected haha.

    3. Bluto

      Bluto: Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
      Otter: Germans?
      Boon: Forget it, he’s rolling.

      1. cjunboy

        Does anyone really beleive that this lady- Ann Minch made reference to the wrong Ken – Lewis?? Laye??? She purposely did that – Freudian Slip, this girl is no dummy. She compared Ken Lewis to one of the biggest crooks of modern day corporate schemes. Really think about it!!!

  3. Bob Blake

    So it begins . . . at long and dear last. Perhaps the bread and circus sleep walking is coming to an end.

    … iam pridem, ex quo suffragia nulli uendimus, effudit curas; nam qui dabat olim imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se continet atque duas tantum res anxius optat, panem et circenses.
    (Juvenal, Satire 10.77–81)

  4. Glenn

    She’s absolutely right. Taxpayers bailed out the banks and how did they repay everyone? By jacking up interests rates.

  5. Ed

    I think the “debtors revolt” may come in the form of people not repaying because they just don’t have the money.

  6. g4nz0

    Video is blocked where I am at. What someone summarize, as I can’t tell what the heck this post is about.

  7. Roberspiere

    Glad to see this happening. Obama could have made changes in the financial industry when he was elected and had high popularity. I guess he felt that he was elected because the contributions that the financial industry made to his campaign. So he did nothing as far as reforms or as far as investigating what he felt was his constituency (banksters). Like always happens on this situations when needed change does not happen from within it will be rammed through from without. May be main-street is the real Master of the Universe

    1. chad

      The point is she’s a responsible credit user and an asset to the bank. Paying off the card after this abuse would be tantamount to “thank you sir may i have another!?”.

    1. FrancoisT

      She clearly stated she was paying on time and never had any problem. What she resent very much (and she sure isn’t alone here) is being on the receiving end of an unjustified jacking-up in interest rates, “because they can”.

      She also said she’d had no problem paying what she owe under the previous interest rates.

      Now, we can point out to her that banks are free to jack up rates as they please, to suck it up and pay.

      We can also say to the banks that they are still alive thanks to US, the taxpayers, and that should make them think twice about fleecing their customers to “cover up their mega screw up” as she so aptly said.

      I can hardly disagree with her on that one. Why should we rescue the banks and then been submitted to this fleecing as a thank you? There is something to say for basic fairness, because without it, there is no viable society.

      But try to explain that to entities whose sole mission is the maximization of profits, the rest be damned?

      1. JP

        She clearly stated she was paying on time and never had any problem. What she resent very much (and she sure isn’t alone here) is being on the receiving end of an unjustified jacking-up in interest rates, “because they can”.

        Nonsense. She had the option of leaving the rates as-is, and then not using the card again.

        But that would entail living within her means. *gasp*

    2. chris A

      bank of america raised my intrest rate to 19.99 from 9.99 for no reason what so ever… called them asked why – rep says they can raise my rate whenever they want… so make long story short paid it off and FROZE ACCOUNT so they can still send me statements and I dont have to do buisness with them anymore THEY ARE CROOKS, if bankers had done this 25 yrs ago
      they would be in jail.. now its just considered normal what does it take for Gov to get involved in this unlawfull act..
      looks like WE THE PEOPLE must stand up for ourselves and choose wisely who we do buisness with

  8. Peripheral Visionary

    Given that the taxpayers are effectively backing the financial industry, any attempt to “stick it to the man” will inevitably result in a larger burden for the taxpayers. If people are angry, they should save it for the ballot box, not launch stupid self-destructive actions (like trashing a foreclosed house, or refusing to pay the mortgage, or racking up debt that they have no intention of repaying) that will only increase the taxes that have to be raised to bail out the floundering institutions.

    1. chad

      What good does the ballot box do? Didn’t we all call our representatives and say ‘no’ to TARP? Wasn’t that the overwhelming voice of the people? The ballot box is meaningless.

      Lets say every incumbent is replaced with the next election(s). Will Washington rebuff the power elite and lobbyists, has it ever? Will it not be business as usual? The ballot box means nothing.

      1. burnside

        Chad, remember your representatives’ TARP votes at the next election.

        There was a ‘throw the bums out’ initiative in the ’90s which faded with one round. It takes two or even three rounds to rebuild the House and eight years to do the same for the Senate.

        I doubt we have the staying power but, if voters really are serious, that’s how you attack the purchasing power of vested interests. The ballot box works. We haven’t used it.

        1. giggity

          Voting doesn’t matter any more with the easily compromised, privatized, electronic voting apparatus implemented on a national scale. And if it did, we’re stuck with the same, bland, corporatist A and corporatist B, 90% of the time. And finally, the American public is so pliable, so weak, so naive, and so gullible that going through the 8 year process of fully wiping out the Senate and House will never work.

          That’s simply naivete speaking.

          The only true way to reform is massive financial support of third parties and “stealth mainstreamers” like Kucinich or Ron Paul, a reform of the voting system to eliminate systematic fraud and abuse, and an educated, logical majority. I highly doubt that trifecta will occur, but I’ll continue to aid it in any way possible.

  9. Paul

    Great video post. I was expecting something more vulgar, and I’m pleasantly surprised.

    Good arguments and she has a case. It may not be legal where she lives, but the morality of her position is unmistakeable.

  10. jo

    I believe that this reaction to unbearable credit card debt occurs frequently and without an organizing movement. It is surprising that banks don’t care that by raising rates to 30+% monthly they will force larger numbers of defaults. They must assume that because they are now too big to fail, if credit card debtors will not pay the Government will bail them account again, again and again.

  11. Lighthouse

    Lets do more than talk. Lets really get this going. If you support her and you have BOA accounts, go to the bank today and close the accounts. Make sure you tell them you are doing this in support of the Debtors Revolt. It is not illegal, it is your money. If enough people do it, by this time next week BOA will be on the ropes and we will have the banksters on the run.

    Revolutions do not require guns, the only require the will to act. There is so much we can do besides whine and this is very easy. Just move your money to another bank. Once we are done with BOA, we can start moving down the list.

  12. Zack

    Pointless… if you fail to consume or renege on debt, it will simply be extracted from the citizenry in the form of taxes and fees.

    1. FrancoisT

      Pray tell what the citizenry will do when they realize the depletion of their wallets is another courtesy from the banksters and the politicians unwilling to do the right thing?

      It’s going to hurt aplenty…for them.

    2. jest

      “Pointless… if you fail to consume or renege on debt, it will simply be extracted from the citizenry in the form of taxes and fees.”

      I think the point is that the citizenry has nothing left to give. You can’t tax someone who is unemployed, nor can you send the repo man to someone who has nothing.

      Many people in this “great nation” have nothing left to lose.

      1. chad

        “Many people in this “great nation” have nothing left to lose.”
        which is just another word for freedom.

  13. MarinusWA

    I have been wondering about what is going to happen when the next crash arrives (and it will arrive). And not so much economically but socially.

    When people talk about China they talk about massive revolts and uprisings if the milk would turn sour. But who is to say that such things won’t happen in any first world nation? The fuse may be harder to lit because of media spin and propaganda but the powder keg is about the same size. Once it’s lit it won’t stop and who knows what will happen then.

    1. K Ackermann

      That’s not fair. She probably was not happy paying 15%, but still found marginal benefit. They stripped her of even that, and the results are on YouTube.

  14. bob

    I agree with the sentiment, not the reasoning.

    She doesn’t say what her original rate was. She would pay off her 15% credit card, but not 30%.

    They are both usury.

    I am sorry, but this is just proof of how limp the populace is.

  15. Nate

    Totally agree with Burk – just pay off your balance. Whether it’s 15% or 30%, how is carrying any balance with that kind of interest rate a responsible economic decision?

    If she can’t pay due to lack of funds, then the question is whether her calling non-payment “civil disobedience” is just a way to rationalize her behavior.

    Want to lower bank’s profits? Try living within your means and therefore not paying interest or late fees on credit cards or overdraft fees on checking accounts. Heck, go all the way and just pay cash for everything. That way the banks don’t even get to charge the merchants for your card use. That way you can penalize the banks without destroying your credit in the process.

  16. Jeff

    I disagree with those who believe that her revolt is “pointless” because it will just hurts taxpayers. That may be true, but the argument is no more valid than it would have been at the time of the original Tea Party. ALL acts of protest against the state cost taxpayer money. So what? How much did taxpayers shell out for the cops who beat and hosed civil rights’ protesters in the 1950’s or the Vietnam War protesters in the 1960’s? Change happens only when people demand it, not when they write a nice letter to their legislators.

    1. Zack

      Yes, they are all costly. But in this case, the response was completely disproportionate. Perhaps $1 trillion in losses were actually taken by lenders? Yet the system, per Neil Kashkari’s testimony in front of Congress, was backstopped with $27.3 trillion.

      A 27:1 ratio of taxation without representation.

  17. Blurtman

    At work behind the scenes is Fair Isaacs, who is selling the banks on correlations, your individual rights be damned. The same scumbags who sell products that correlate late utility payments with your projected inability to pay other bills, resulting in larger interest payments to the Fair Issacs customers by the debtors for behaviour that has not occurred.

    The person in this video is clearly emulating a potential role model – Donald Trump. This fellow has defaluted on many large real estate loans, but still is a celebrity with his own TV show.

    There you go.

  18. PurpleTeeth

    Wow, I would assume that people who read this site are more versed than average, I’m surprised at the number posters advising to bend over and take it. We’re doomed.

    And I thought the Ken Lay / Lewis was an excellent Freudian slip… not falling on her face at all (and she did acknowledge with a popup). Trainwreck, you must never do much if you’ll consider something like that “falling on her face” — I guess that goes back to — Americans just are afraid / too complacent to do much of anything.

    Let the clusterf*** continue…

  19. Karen

    Maybe I’m confused, but couldn’t she have notified them in writing that she rejects their change? She’d have to stop using the card but she’d be able to pay off her existing debt on the old terms, I thought.

    Am I wrong about that?

  20. Buzz Meeks

    I called for a credit card payers strike last year after TARP was bought and paid for. I posted it here, Calculated Risk,Sic Temper Tyrannis, Pen and Sword,and several other sites. No response anywhere that I recall. It isn’t time to split hairs of what she “coulda, shoulda” done. The fact is WE NEED TO ACT. These bank pukes will fold. They are cowards expecting everyone will continue to roll up into a fetal position.

    This is the only way we can start taking the country back without taking it to the streets (they have too much fire power at all levels, it only took four dead in Ohio to shut down the antiwar movement). Congress can’t deliver what they sold to the banks- extrapolation- this might force honest health care reform because Congress can’t deliver if they want re-election.

    Buzz Meeks

  21. The Pounder

    What a bunch of crybabies. You live above your means for so long that it finally catches up with you. The American People are a bunch of spoiled cry babies who constantly are looking to blame someone else for their pathetic financial and life decisions. It is time to own up to your poor judgment.
    These F%$# bailouts are sickening on both the corp level and the consumer level. It’s time for both these losers to go bust and learn a lesson.

    1. chad

      She was paying on time and carrying a balance. She’s not “living beyond her means” or addicted to credit. She’s a banker’s wet dream, someone willing to pay the interest rate, pay on time, and be responsible. All that and they still screwed her.

      1. Lavrenti Beria

        I wouldn’t concern myself overly with kulaks like The Pounder, chad. The people will know how to deal with filth like this when the time comes.

  22. Jim in MN

    Boycott, strike, whatever you call it

    There are as many ways to remove ourselves from the system as there are potential transactions that could have happened, but won’t

    This is it: the ‘auctioneer’ is laughing at FedStreet

    A billion Schumpeterian ways to say “No, I don’t love you”

    The ultimate reverse Hallmark

    The raised middle finger on the Invisible Hand

    Think it’s fun now just wait a couple of years. The anti-party is just getting started.

  23. Bob

    “Revolting” is an apt description here. This video is nothing more than a laughable attempt to justify a bankrupt lifestyle. If the goal is to revolt against debt, the most effective way is to live within ones means, build wealth in the form of savings, and not incur usury debt above the real savings rate.

    By the way, if you tank your credit rating by “revolting,” you can forget being hired at many private sector businesses who run credit checks on applicants. You can also forget being hired (or keeping your job) at any public or private sector entity that requires a security clearance.

    But by all means, any of you who find this video to be valid, feel free to give “The Man” what for. LOL.

    1. chad

      Go watch the video again, like others have stated, she’s a responsible credit user. Making payments on time and keeping her balance maintainable. BOFA wants to push her to only be able to make the min payment and therefore have to carry the balance forever meanwhile paying basically a subscription fee to her debt.

      oh and shove your stupid employment threats up your ass. From the Fair Credit Reporting Act “An employer must first inform you that someone will be conducting a credit check on you and get your permission in writing”

    2. bob

      “not incur usury debt above the real savings rate.”

      This is a great example of a statement that seems like it might actually be intelligent. It is not. It does not say anything, it’s complete gibberish.

      Get back under the blanket and continue to breathe deep and marvel at all you have created. Your shit does not impress anyone but you, keep it to yourself.

    3. Lavrenti Beria

      And preciely how are we describe sentiments such as yours, Bob? Are we to use the term “kulak” of them? Are you a kulak, Bob?

  24. Really a marxist

    Forget the good old legend of “government-independent capitalism”…

    Capitalists and the Governments had a love story for centuries, since the begginings of capitalism…

    Make a search for:

    Dutch West India Company

    Dutch East India Company

    British East India Company

    Japanese Zaibatsu

    Otto von Bismarck and german private companies in the 19th century (Krupp AG, Thyssen AG, Bayer AG, Deutsche Bank…)

    “Government, in modern states, is just a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie” (Karl Marx)

    The revolt we need is against capitalist government AND capitalism itself.

  25. Michael

    The lady is right. She was playing by the rules and due to the fact she was laid off and her direct deposit(my assumption) stopped then her risk rating was raised. BofA figured if they made the credit terms uncomfortable that she would pay off the debt and not leave them holding the bag. BofA is really only hastening the charge off process and the future meaninglessness of a FICO score. I could be wrong and these tactics actually work for them or they wouldn’t do it, right?

  26. free-at-last

    Ha ha. I’m four years ahead of you. We have managed to be just fine without credit cards or, for a couple of years, a bank account. All after trying in vain to negotiate with the creditors subsequent to the dot com debacle of ’01 that threw me out of work and left me with a re-entry to the job market that was less than 70% of what I could take home before the banking and financial industry off-shored all of the jobs in my area of expertise. They took the write-down, sold me off to the debt collectors and stopped sending me statements. Hmmm… that was kind of voluntary on their part wasn’t it? I was willing to keep paying. Just not the high monthly amount they all insisted on or “no deal.” So, no deal. And yes, their arbitration, credit counseling and debt consolidation scams are just that – scams. This isn’t for the faint of heart but I gotta admit it is truly liberating to disassociate yourself from the blood sucking zombies that run the banks and credit industry. I’m never going back. Adios shylocks.

  27. Steve

    to free-at-last …

    what did the cc companies do, other than harass you by phone and mail? did they sue, put a lien on your house, try to garnish your wasges. i find it hard to believe they just walked away after a couple of years. also, what happened to your credit score?

  28. Moopheus

    The best weapon against the financial services industry is cold hard cash. Holding it and using it. Cash doesn’t earn interest and fees (for the bank). All the services offered by the banking and investment industry are designed to part you from your money, so they can control it, use it, and profit from it.

    You want to free yourselves from them? Then free your money. It’s the last thing they want you to do. So it’s the first thing you must do.

    1. moslof


      Shorting stocks/bonds in the next year or two will be highly profitable, but the safest way to profit for the nonwealthy is to hold cash. Cash is already up 50% compared to the 07-08 top of the asset bubble. Bank runs will start in 2010. People will be shocked at the miniscule amount of cash in the vault.

  29. Small Business Owner

    I have been a Bank of America Business Customer, a holdover from Bank Of Boston account from 1996 and have all my accounts with this bank, credit card merchant services, business accounts and savings now due to the buy out of Country that too. Not having read the small print my fault needed a telescope to read this, realize that my interest rate was raised from 9% to 19.99%, I have been using this line after my other Bank of America line at 4% was taken away because of the nature of Economy they had to shut that down and now they want more interest with this line I said can I talk to your manager and they put my onto a credit manager who ask some question that they already could look up in my accounts with them, now I am on hold for a little while an at last the answer sorry but we can not change the new interest rate, sorry to say I went off on this guy #@$$$##@ you get the hint what I said and did, the next day zero line of credit zero end of picture.

  30. Jonathan

    I just had a credit card company (Barclays) try to retroactively change my interest rate. Fortunately, I was in position to immediately pay it off. These banks are criminal enterprises. The executives should be charged under RICO statutes.

    I almost wish that I had a large amount of credit card debt so that I could participate in the Great Debt Revolt of 2009.

    BTW, in a show of solidarity, I am going to close my B of A business account as soon as I have another one open elsewhere with a non-TARP bank.

  31. Yves Smith Post author

    I am quite an idiot. There is a much more effective way to rebel.

    Organize mass withdrawals. If enough people threatened to pull their cash out of TARP banks, that would bring the system down. You could do it in a two-step process so as to tell the authorities they needed to bring the banks to heel. On one Monday, have everyone who is participating withdraw 10% of their money at all TARP banks, with the threat that if certain actions were not taken, on a Monday say four weeks later, all the participants would withdraw all their cash.

  32. OSR

    I am quite an idiot. There is a much more effective way to rebel.

    I was on the fence with some ZH’s allegations during your catfight. Now I’m completely convinced this is a paid blog. Put up the GS logo and be done with it for Christ’s sake. Debt revolts? Mass withdrawals? Even with a MBA, nobody is that dense.

  33. Yves Smith Post author


    With all due respect, you clearly know nothing about blogging. If this were a paid blog, I would not be writing this myself, for starters, nor would I have Google ads. I could go down a very long list. And you further assume, which is a rather large stretch, that the fact that I worked for Goldman nearly 30 years ago means I have some loyalty to them. The firm today bears no resemblance to the one of three decades ago. Perhaps more important, you fail to consider the fact that someone who took off the golden handcuffs does not value gold very much.

    Moreover, your comment reveals a considerable lack of historical perspective. No one took the idea that the natives of India could throw out the British through nonviolent action seriously, or that the blacks would prevail in South Africa until they did. There are many ways to protest, and some experimentation is needed to find the right pressure point or symbolism. And in our modern, tightly coupled systems, there are actually more, not fewer, effective pressure points than in the past.

  34. Yves Smith Post author


    People are angry, but there is not a critical mass yet of angry people who are ready to take action of some sort that would be effective, But we are closer to a trigger point than you appreciate. I am very distracted by the book, but I see a lot of signs that more and more people are getting close to their personal breaking points. That leads to state changes, not linear changes, in behavior.

    OSR and ndk, how old are you? I strongly suspect that neither of you lived through the 1960s. People were willing to go to jail, and many did. And I mean real jail time, years, not getting thrown in the slammer until you find a way to scrounge up bail money or get a lawyer to get charges dismissed.

    There are strangle points now that if you had protests that had the same level of participation as you had in the 1960s, you’d create real pressure. And none of these actions would put anyone at risk of going to jail. The downside is far less than for the kind of protests that we have seen here in the US not all that long ago.

  35. Richie

    How do we know the woman in video’s statements are true? I mean, it all sounds good but how are we to know whether or not she’s just “acting” to make a valid point?

  36. nick

    well, Richie, if it’s truth or acting, as long as her points are valid, why do we care? judging an individual is just gossip–it’s the condition she represents that’s important…

  37. Peter T

    I want to see BofA bankcrupt for the things they’ve done. Still, I wonder if the boycott by an able payer is such a threat to them: they own congress and the legal system and can wring her out if she has something, even if takes a few years. I put my hope more in the people who can NOT pay all of their bills and have to choose which payment to make. I hope they decide to cut their credit card with the interest over 25% without paying it back.

  38. Richie

    Nick, If she is leading a debtor’s revolt for real, then she needs to be the genuine article. No acting allowed in an inspirational leader. Don’t ya think it’s always a good thing to inquire as to the credibility of a source of information? If she’s leading an army of revolters into the proverbial gunfire of the banking system, seems like the followers would want to know their leader was facing real bullets, too. I’m not saying she’s lying because all I’ve got to go on is unreliable intuition but, likewise, who can say for sure she is telling the truth either? a couple of her statements seemed a little too wide-eyed goodie two shoes and a tad overkill on the innocence act… ie, her speech and facial movements indicated – to me at least – that maybe she was not being completely honest. Don’t get me wrong though. Nothing would please me better than to see every damn person in America pick up a pitch fork and start walking towards either NY or DC.

  39. eh

    Blah blah. Banks offer conditions, which if you read them state these can change. She should have just shopped around for a better offer — which should not have been hard at all to find — and transferred her balance, which usually gets you an even better deal.

  40. Sandy

    “Banks offer conditions, which if you read them state these can change. She should have just shopped around for a better offer”

    She can go shopping around for years and will not find a bank, which is willing to give her credit on HER conditions.

    Its time to change this!

  41. TheRabit

    No doubt the u.s. government will bring out armed forces against its own people. I’m native american, My people know the lengths evil greedy white people will go to get what they want. in this case instead of general custer, its the banking and credit industry.

  42. Marlea Solar

    Bank of America did the same thing to me. My plan was to try to negotiate a settlement, can’t pay their interest rate. Like her plan better. Also Visa Chase had a 4% fixed deal with me at $164.00 per month. They sent me a bill for $403.00 minimum pmt.

  43. ernie

    this is inspirational

    perhaps banks should have acknowledged that they are still alive ONLY because of the taxpayer, and thus actually decided to work for society’s interests, instead of the interest of their employees bonus pool solely…

  44. Travis

    Banks are playing with fire here… They’re jacking up rates on unsecured debt. The person in this video is legally allowed to declare bankruptcy and BoA gets NOTHING.

    1. Robinson

      Have you checked bankrupcy laws lately, Travis? Good luck qualifying for chapter 7 which is what she would have to qualify for in order for BofA to get nothing.

      1. cristine

        She said has no assets and no income. She qualifies for chapter 7 under this although it costs a lot more to lawyers to file.

  45. tricoteuse

    Intriguing as this call to arms may be, debtor revolt would be more effective if it drew on collective bargaining principles. We don’t have a labor force anymore, but we have Mongolian hordes of debt peons, and collectively they have life-and-death power over the financial sector. Imagine a simple five-step plan to motivate some actual reform – or at least make lots of shit hit great big fans worldwide.

    1. Publicize the program: collective consumer debt renegotiation with targeted banks. If renegotiation fails, enrolled borrowers will repudiate their entire debt on a specified deadline.

    2. Enroll borrowers, who list the amount of their debts and their lenders.

    3. Identify the first target bank, using criteria that can include:
    • The bank’s financial vulnerability
    • Enrolled borrowers’ aggregate debt
    • The bank profile or notoriety.
    Screen lenders from among FDIC problem banks, bailout beneficiaries, or abusive non-bank lenders.

    4. Choose a percentage chargeoff to demand. Ideally, the reduction demanded in enrolled borrowers’ debts would not bankrupt the institution, but public repudiation of the enrollees’ entire debt would make the institution insolvent.

    5. Announce the first target bank and date: on the specified date, the bank shall forgive X percent of enrollees’ debt or the enrollees will repudiate their entire debt and allow it to proceed to collection, at which point interest will no longer accrue.

    6. …

    7. Profit! (No, actually, loss.) The immediate likely result would be disproportionate escalation by banks including government repression and attempts to criminalize the bargaining process. But the target bank is likely to be destabilized anyway, and the threat to other vulnerable banks could trigger another nice credit event. Consumers will have asserted their power to dictate writeoffs and liquidate banks even as government policy tries to defer recognition of losses. Real restructuring could begin with consumers at the table.

    Sorry to run on.

  46. Ann Minch

    I’m thrilled my video is getting this much attention!!! Yes, I’m just a regular person. A county mental health worker in a rural part of northern calif. I’m not trying to get out of paying my $5,000 credit card bill – I will gladly start making payments when BofA gives back my “normal” interest rate.

    I’ve never “acted” before, and don’t intend to. I simply want to be treated fairly! I only said what everyone else is thinking and feeling. All I did was talk to a machine for 5 minutes – it’s the PUBLIC that’s making my video go viral! Everyone is PISSED and feels like there’s nothing they can do about it, but they are WRONG. We CAN do something about it, and we WILL!

  47. Markie

    Ten years ago, after a lifetime of flawless credit, I “walked away” from a credit card after the issuer hiked my interest rate to 29.99. I tried for months to get the issuer to explain the hike. I tried for months to get them to listen to my point of view. It was all futile.

    Those who glibly say that customers can simply “read the agreement” (which banks change constantly and often in sneaky ways) or just “shop around for a better deal” aren’t seeing the entire picture. If your bank has been reasonable in its dealings with you, you can just consider yourself fortunate.

    Now that banks have accepted billions from unwilling taxpayers to cover their own screwups, maltreatment of their customers is even less excusable.

    I applaud Ann Minch for speaking out. I hope her rebellion inspires many more abused customers of the new “federal-hybrid” banks.

  48. riverdaughter

    Anne, have you contacted Elizabeth Warren about your debtor’s revolt? Not that she could do anything for you but it would be interesting to get her take on it. Or even have her use you as an example of the frustration and anger of the typical put upon American Consumer.
    I too got a ridiculous rate hike even though I owe very little on my credit card and schedule all of my payments. I could swear they didn’t credit my account for one of those payments. But now is the time to make that final payment to Chase and cancel the card altogether. I have other cards at more reasonable but still outrageous rates and there’s always the credit union.
    I support your revolt. We at The Confluence would be happy to help you go viral.

  49. RJP

    Right on! I am soooooo with her. I am not paying Chase or BOA because they both jacked my rates to 29.99% and increased the minimums to 5%. I can’t and won’t be screwed by these crooks any longer. JOIN THE REVOLT AMERICA!

  50. bondinvestor

    I would really like someone to explain to me how the big, bad evil banks forced ordinary Americans to go out and consume more than they earned year in, year out. the unwillingness of folks to step up and take responsibility for their decisions and actions is disgusting.

    for goodness sakes, folks, credit cards have been around for 40 years. public interest groups have highlighting the dangers of credit cards (and overspending) for DECADES. how on earth ANYONE could stand up and say that they were forced, tricked, etc into ringing up thousands of dollars of discretionary expenses is beyond me.

    it’s like reading those ridiculous stories in the NYT about the poor, overleveraged home owners who are now underwater on their mortgage – despite the fact that they purchased the house 10 years ago for 1/3 of the current lien.

    the reality is that Americans have been living beyond their means for two decades and the bill is finally starting to come due. yet rather than sucking it up and paying it, they want to go blame someone else for their problems.

    i’ve got news for you folks. it’s not the bank’s fault. it’s not the government’s fault. it’s not GW Bush’s, or Bill Clinton’s fault. it’s not corporate america’s fault and it’s not china’s fault. it’s not osama bin laden’s fault.

    it’s the borrower’s fault. plain and simple. no one else made you pull out the plastic at the point of sale.

    1. SLE

      Bondinvestor, you are not paying attention! These are not deadbeats racking up credit unresponsibly! I created my debt, I accept full responsibility for it and have every intention of paying it in full. However, I adhered to the terms of my agreement with the bank by paying my bill on time. I went a step further by paying above the minimum amount due each month. Bear in mind, the bulk of my debt is medical debt – put it on a credit card, receive treatment, and pay it myself – or freeload off the taxpayers by tapping into the system? I choose to pay my own way. It’s insulting to be taken advantage of this way. Beware, you could be next – then you’ll be singing a different tune.

  51. LHB

    At this point is doesn’t make much difference who’s “fault” it is. Life has become impossible for a growing number of people who are indebted for whatever reason, and most are choosing to take their lumps (a big hit to their credit report, the likelihood of going to court and having a judgement leveled, etc.) in order to fight for a chance to live without being heavily and hopelessly indebted to private creditors for the rest of their natural lives. This is not a matter of contract law in the narrow sense, it’s a matter of more and more Americans feeling that large financial institutions have violated their part of the social contract. They’re fighting for their economic lives through whatever means are at their disposal. This woman’s predicament is minor compared to many, but her response to it came at the right moment, and may have wider reaching reprecussions than most people are willing to consider. I certainly hope so.

  52. Nanamurphy

    I stopped paying ALL Credit Cards about 6 years ago because of them raising the interest rates despite I was never late on any of my payments. I am retired and living on Social Security Retirement Benefits, and a well earned Pension – both of which can NOT be attached by any creditor. I own my own home and since it is my primary residence, State Law also exempts my home from having any Liens placed against it. I closed out my Savings Account and only kept my Checking Acct. where my SS checks and Pension Checks are directly desposited – both are also unattachable. I sent all my Bill Collectors a letter explaining I am “Judgement Proof” and also to stop calling me (which they had to do). They went ahead and placed Judgements against me (which are useless) and these will expire in another 3 years. In the meantime, I have plenty of money to pay cash for anything I need or want – drive a 3 year old car that is paid for – and I am debt free!!!!!! It’s great to be retired – LOL. These Banks need to realize WE ARE IN CHARGE – they need us alot more than we need them.

  53. Skippy

    Go Nana you good thing! Too right they need us, not the other way around. Their world would stop like zero kelvin if we stopped playing their game.

    Skippy…stop playing the game and only buy what you need not extend their credit/debet fix.

  54. Paula at CreditLaw.com

    I understand that this woman is upset, but it boggles my mind how she is willing to sacrifice her personal financial future “for the cause.” Why doesn’t she just vote with her feet?

    We’ve posted a response to her video. It highlights some simple steps that she can take to resolve the situation and walk away. In essence giving BofA the finger.


  55. Susan

    I am in the same situation with Chase. They acquired my account when they bought WaMu who acquired my account when they bought Providian. I have had the account for over 10 years, have a perfect pay history and ALWAYS pay more than the minimum payment. My interest rate went from 10% to 27.97% but I kept on paying, trying to get it paid off. Chase recently sent a letter informing me they had closed my account! When I called to find out why, their response was, “you don’t fit the profile”!! WTF? If you call to get answers, you are only allowed to speak to someone reading from a script – they have no information that would give you insight into why this is happening. It appears they are trying to force the masses into bankruptcy. They have accepted tax payer monies and are now using that money to screw us over. I am proud of you Ann and with you all the way!

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