10 Questions for Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

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Ken Lewis, the CEO of Bank of America, has been called on to the carpet: he’ll be testifying at a hearing of Ed Towns’ Oversight and Government Reform committee today. The Service Employees International Union passes on ten questions it thinks committee members should ask Lewis:

1. How can you commit to pay for former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo’s legal defense—“a million a month” according to Bloomberg—while Bank of America announced layoffs for 35,000 employees and refuses cost-of-living raises for its lowest-wage workers?

2. Why do you nickel and dime your lowest paid workers (tellers earn $10.50/hour without access to affordable health insurance) at the same time you shower lavish perks and deals for executives and traders?

3. As Bank of America employees speak out about unpaid overtime and a predatory sales culture, what do you plan to do to improve employment practices?

4. Given dismal economic performance, low-staff morale, and a core business model of pushing debt on consumers, what has Bank of America done to meet its stated goal of being “the world’s most admired company?”

5. After reportedly receiving tax breaks, and more than $195 billion in bailouts, government guarantees, and taxpayer-funded healthcare for its workers, what is Bank of America’s plan to reduce its dependence on the U.S.taxpayer?

6. After being bailed out by hard-working taxpayers facing the toughest economic times since the Great Depression, do you think it’s right for Bank of America to lobby against laws that would helps working families—like the Employee Free Choice Act, healthcare reform, and credit card reform?

7. As you argue against any laws that would create greater transparency in the industry, could you tell us what other calamities on your books you are hiding? First it was the Merrill Lynch deal—what’s the next shoe to drop?

8. During your time as CEO, at what point did cutting costs and gouging customers with unnecessary products and skyrocketing fees become more important than customer satisfaction?

9. At a time when people are struggling, have you considered lowering banking and overdraft fees that are already higher than many other non-bailed-out banks?

10. Why do you create incentives for Bank of America employees to push further debt on customers?

This should get good. You can watch live here.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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