An internal Bank of America email has surfaced, making it clear that the megabank is concerned about the national day of action against evictions and foreclosures being carried out today, Dec. 6, by the Occupy Wall Street movement. The leaked internal memo suggests BofA is taking Occupy housing actions very seriously.
According to the email, which was sent to BofA's third-party Field Services suppliers, the nationwide protests "could impact our industry."
"We believe protests will likely take place tomorrow at auction sites, homes that are being foreclosed, homes in the eviction stage, and vacant homes," the BofA memo notes. "We want to make sure that we are all prepared."
It goes on to emphasize three points: do not engage with the protesters, ensure that vacant homes are secured, and report "media incidents" to 800-796-8448. I called that number to verify that the email was real, and sure enough, a spokesperson confirmed that it was.
The memo concludes with proof that the Bank of America has been paying close attention to activist websites. "The website occupyourhomes.org has a story posted of a Bank customer we are researching," the email notes. "The web site has an event finder that can help identify upcoming protests."
After the Guardian called the BoFA to determine whether the email was real, media relations representative Jumana Bauwens followed up with this statement:
“As a matter of normal course of business, when we are alerted to activities that may affect our real estate owned properties, we inform our third party contractors. This is standard operating procedure. The safety of our associates and third party contractors is our first priority. It is the bank’s policy to protect and secure our properties for the investors who own them. Bank of America is committed to helping our customers with home retention solutions and other foreclosure avoidance programs. Foreclosure is always our last resort.”