Bank of America protest at noon today

A protest will target Bank of America's Monument Square branch at noon today. Loosely affiliated with the Occupy movement, the effort will draw attention to corporate greed and Bank of America's high profits and low (or zero) tax bills, according to organizer Bill Digiulio. It is also in support of a resurfacing idea called the "Robin Hood Tax" or the "Tobin Tax," a tax on all financial transactions that could be used to fund bank-stabilization funds so taxpayers wouldn't be on the hook for any future bank bailouts.

Mindful of recent arrests at protests at Bank of America branches and other banks' locations around the country, Digiulio says his group will be on public land, handing out information on problems with large corporate banks, as well as flyers from local credit unions. He says his effort will not focus on customers closing accounts, noting that November 5 is "Move Your Money Day," which has that focus.

Saying that BofA in Monument Square had laid on extra security just after the Occupy movement appeared nearby, Digiulio laughed, "We're the job creators."

A major objection is the transfer of taxpayer money to Bank of America. In 2010, Forbes reported, Bank of America got a $1 trillion bailout, made $4.4 billion in profit, and got an income-tax refund of $1.9 billion from the federal government.

From the bank's perspective, disruptive behavior on bank property will not be tolerated, though exactly what constitutes "disruptive" is unclear.

TJ Crawford, BofA's senior VP for media relations, said "If individuals come to our banking centers and are nondisruptive then their account closure requests will be accommodated. Individuals or groups disrupting business activity may be asked to leave."

As far as what that might mean in practice, Crawford declined to say whether someone who was wearing a shirt or carrying a sign with a message on it would be considered disruptive. "It's at the discretion of the banking center manager and other employees," he said, noting that the manager may even choose to close the branch temporarily.

Nevertheless, "the reason or reasons behind an account closure request has never and will never prevent that request from being accommodated," Crawford said. He added that people can close their accounts over the phone or online, and need not come to a branch to do so.
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