In advance of the upcoming Bank Transfer Day Consumerist reader Jeff and a friend decided to stand outside a San Diego branch of Bank of America to remind customers that they should consider a credit union. This didn’t go over well with a man claiming to be a BofA employee, who threatened to have Jeff’s credit union account cancelled if the protest continued.
And he made the threat in front of a reporter for the San Diego Reader.
“I’m just encouraging folks to close their account with BofA and move their money to a nonprofit credit union,” Jeff told the Reader about his protest. “San Diego is full of great credit unions.”
But when the alleged bank staffer approached Jeff and asked him which credit union, he’d recommend, Jeff gave him the name of one for which he’d been handing out pamphlets to anyone who asked. Jeff also admits to the Reader that he would receive a $25 referral fee if anyone opened and kept their account at that specific credit union — though he says it is not the reason behind the protest.
To the bank man, who identified himself as corporate security for the bank but would not show ID to Jeff or the reporter, this meant that Jeff was “running a business” on a public sidewalk.
He then made the threat that, “with one phone call,” he could have Jeff’s account at the credit union canceled.
“I held my ground but his threats still had me spooked,” says Jeff. “So I called my Credit Union to ask if he really could close my account. They laughed out loud and basically said, ‘full steam ahead!’”
Alleged Bank of America Official Threatens Protester [San Diego Reader]