Bank of America Attempts to Repair Image

Bank of America - Kodachrome
Bank of America – Kodachrome

It will not be an easy task to rehabilitate Bank of America’s image. Skank of America, as some call it, is a particularly juicy target for the Occupy Movement folks, with good reason.

Bank of America has shifted brand advertising duties to a WPP team from Omnicom Group’s BBDO, according to two executives familiar with the matter.

The selection of WPP comes after a process that the bank, under its CMO Anne Finucane, began in January. WPP will now be responsible for the rollout of a new strategic positioning — or what Bank of America was internally calling the development of a “North Star” that would signal to Wall Street and consumers that it’s a new day at the bank, helping to repair the company’s tarnished image.

The agency change will likely lead to BofA shedding its current “Bank of Opportunity” slogan, which was developed by BBDO. The tag was adopted a few years ago to replace the prior “Higher Standards” campaign, but it lost resonance amid a recession that tightened consumers’ purse strings and crippled many small businesses across America.

WPP’s Brand Union was already assigned to Bank of America, so the holding company secures an even larger place on the bank’s roster with this win. Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Hill Holliday, which has handled marketing duties for the bank’s wealth management and corporate social-responsibility operations, among other things, is expected to retain its work. Those agencies either could not be immediately reached or referred calls to Bank of America, which did not return a request for comment by press time.

It’s unclear what the moves mean for Bank of America’s PR shop, Weber Shandwick. Media duties and digital were not in play.

According to Ad Age’s DataCenter, BofA is the 17th-largest marketer in the country, with $1.55 billion in ad spending in the U.S. The company’s rethink comes amid widespread mistrust of large financial organizations that manifested in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

(click here to continue reading Bank of America Moves Brand Advertising From BBDO to WPP | Agency News – Advertising Age.)

JP Morgan Chase Bat Signal
JP Morgan Chase Bat Signal

Stunts like these won’t help:

Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase and the industry’s regulation-basher in chief, has called for a sit-down next week between the heads of four of the nation’s biggest banks — JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley — and Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

The purpose of this friendly get-together will be to express the banks’ displeasure about financial regulation, particularly a Fed plan to limit the banks’ exposure to derivatives tied to the credit of foreign governments and other banks.

According to the WSJ:

bankers will tell regulators that the rule is based on “unrealistic” standards and could foster “potentially destabilizing” market shifts, according to two draft letters reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

In other words: Nice economy you’ve got there. Shame if anything should happen to it.

(click here to continue reading Bank CEOs To Tell Fed Regulation Is ‘Unrealistic’: Report.)

plus ça change…
plus ça change…

and there was this, as reported by Aaron Krager of Gapers Block:

Under the recent settlement between big banks and multiple state’s Attorney General gives Bank of America a pass in the alleged fraud against homeowners. The Home Affordable Modification Program should help homeowners restructure their loan in order to stay in their houses. But BofA put up roadblocks to prevent many of these according to a lawsuit.

As the bank installed single point of contacts for homeowners, as directed under consent orders with federal regulators in April, Mackler was promoted. As a SPOC, he allegedly escalated homeowners’ concerns up the hierarchy and allegedly learned another BofA employee told at least one homeowner to voluntarily cancel her HAMP request with the promise of a private modification — a violation of HAMP guidelines. The settlement released BofA from this lawsuit and further prevents the American public from learning the depths the banks went to defraud their consumers.

Since the bank bailout by the federal government through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Bank of America posted $5.5 billion in profits while paying in no taxes. The bank did pay back the $45 billion they received from TARP. Companies are expected to pay a marginal tax rate of 35 percent but have lobbied Congress and state legislatures for favorable tax loopholes that they regularly utilize to their advantage.

From 2008 to 2011 Bank of America spent more than $15.77 million in lobbying expenditures, according to Portions of the lobbying undoubtedly goes to loosening regulations but the creation and protection of tax loopholes cannot be dismissed.

(click here to continue reading Bank of America Ignores Citizen Tax Enforcers – Gapers Block Mechanics | Chicago.)

May Day 2012 – Occupy Chicago – Haymarket

Every year on May 1st there is some sort of demonstration or rally in front of the Haymarket Riot Memorial statue. Here are some photos from yesterday’s events. Double click an image to embiggen.

Join ILHS at our annual May Day ceremony and commemoration of the Haymarket Martyrs. Benedicto Martinez Orozco, a leader of the Mexican union federation Frente Autentico de Trabajo, will preside over mounting a plaque from our Mexican brothers and sisters in the FAT. Then join the May Day demonstration assembling at Union Park at 12 noon and marching to Federal Plaza at 1:00 PM. This May Day demonstration, initiated by Occupy Chicago, is sponsored by a host of local unions and community groups.

(click here to continue reading May Day 2012.)

In The Brightness of the Day
In The Brightness of the Day

Be A Non Violent Activist
Be A Non Violent Activist

Tuning Up - May Day 2012
Tuning Up – May Day 2012

#Occupy May Day 2012 at the Haymarket
May Day 2012 at the Haymarket

Baby Blood - May Day 2012
Baby Bloc – May Day 2012

Chinese Delegation - May Day 2012
Chinese Delegation – May Day 2012

Stop Government Crimes
Stop Government Crimes

May Day Celebration - 2007
May Day Celebration – 2007

Occupy Barrier
Occupy Barrier

CPD on Bikes -May Day 2012
CPD on Bikes -May Day 2012

More photos here, or here (Flash)

Noam Chomsky: What next for Occupy?

Stop Taking Pictures and Join Us
Stop Taking Pictures and Join Us

Noam Chomsky is pleasantly surprised at the success of the Occupy movement.

Coverage of Occupy has been mixed. At first it was dismissive, making fun of people involved as if they were just silly kids playing games and so on. But coverage changed. In fact, one of the really remarkable and almost spectacular successes of the Occupy movement is that it has simply changed the entire framework of discussion of many issues. There were things that were sort of known, but in the margins, hidden, which are now right up front – such as the imagery of the 99% and 1%; and the dramatic facts of sharply rising inequality over the past roughly 30 years, with wealth being concentrated in actually a small fraction of 1% of the population.

For the majority, real incomes have pretty much stagnated, sometimes declined. Benefits have also declined and work hours have gone up, and so on. It’s not third world misery, but it’s not what it ought to be in a rich society, the richest in the world, in fact, with plenty of wealth around, which people can see, just not in their pockets.

All of this has now been brought to the fore. You can say that it’s now almost a standard framework of discussion. Even the terminology is accepted. That’s a big shift.

Earlier this month, the Pew foundation released one of its annual polls surveying what people think is the greatest source of tension and conflict in American life. For the first time ever, concern over income inequality was way at the top. It’s not that the poll measured income inequality itself, but the degree to which public recognition, comprehension and understanding of the issue has gone up. That’s a tribute to the Occupy movement, which put this strikingly critical fact of modern life on the agenda so that people who may have known of it from their own personal experience see that they are not alone, that this is all of us. In fact, the US is off the spectrum on this. The inequalities have risen to historically unprecedented heights. In the words of the report: “The Occupy Wall Street movement no longer occupies Wall Street, but the issue of class conflict has captured a growing share of the national consciousness. A new Pew Research Center survey of 2,048 adults finds that about two-thirds of the public (66%) believes there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor – an increase of 19 percentage points since 2009.”

(click here to continue reading Noam Chomsky: What next for Occupy? | World news | The Guardian.)