Dear Bank of America: Stick to Banking

A few weeks ago Bank of America (BoA) notified me that they were going to start and/or raise fees for overseas purchases. I wasn’t particularly thrilled by this because I like to buy things from Canada and China. But what really upset me was the following advertisement on the BoA homepage a few weeks later:

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So not only are my fees being raised, but they’re being used for social engineering by giving money to the Ad Council for their Love has No Limits campaign. To be clear, I have no problem with anybody loving anybody else. I’m miffed by BoA and other corporations expending resources on social engineering, and for many reasons.

First and foremost, I want the fees paid by me and my fellow BoA customers to go towards the provision of banking services. Call me crazy, but I really don't want $100,000 or $200,000 of company assets spent on a Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer’s salary, and hundreds of thousands more (or millions?) spent on related programs. I’d rather BoA eliminate such expenditures and lower the cost of banking for customers, or increase dividend payouts, or anything within the realm of banking.  

What can you really expect to effect from such a campaign? It doesn't need to change the minds of people that are accepting of diversity, and it won't do anything to change the minds of those unaccepting of it. The average Joe on the street couldn’t care less what BoA has to say about diversity. People care about their friends, their family, their community, and the people they work with. It's those people that will change hearts and minds, not corporate America, the government, or the Ad Council.

The goals of corporate campaigns like this are vague to the point of being illogical. BoA wants to "promote the acceptance of all people." But this is a logical contradiction because "all people" must include those who oppose diversity (e.g. those opposed to homosexuality, or free speech, or the intermarrying of races, or “usury” banking!). Does BoA really want to embrace the values of those people?

In other ways, "diversity" is an aimless goal—a solution looking for a problem. What exactly is the problem that BoA is trying to solve? Are its employees and customers not inclusive enough? How does it know? What metrics are they using? And how will it know when the problem is solved so that it can stop spending bank resources on this non-banking issue?

All this PC stuff is just tiresome. I, myself, work in corporate America. I get vague and pointless e-mails about diversity and inclusion regularly, and I'm not alone. Millions of other Americans who work for mid-to-large sized companies are likewise barraged. We get enough of it at work. We don’t need our banks to pile it on.

The truth is, we don’t need any companies engaging in this. These diversity programs are not the result of market pressures or spontaneous concern by corporations or their customers. They programs exist to preempt or placate the pressures and bullying of interest groups, politicians, academia, and others with power, beit political, social, or legal. Granted, some individuals within these programs are genuinely trying to do good with the power they’ve been given, but these programs because exist because of bullying, and if BoA really wanted to impress me, they’d resist political correctness, not cater to it.

I’ve already conveyed all this directly to Bank of America (with no response) but I’ll say it again here, openly: Bank of America, please get out of the social engineering business and focus on banking.

ArticleMichael Clarkfront