MBNA and Bank of America (BofA) have announced plans to merge. The $35 billion deal would create a combined financial giant with 20% of the U.S. credit card market. In 2004, MBNA surpassed Enron as the single largest donor to George W. Bush. MBNA gave 70% to 80% of its contributions to GOP causes. MBNA took a leading role lobbying for bankruptcy "reform" - recent legislation that will make it much harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy.
Next Tuesday, September 27, the Delaware State Bank Commissioner will hold a public hearing in Wilmington, Delaware on the proposed merger. You can take action today to speak out against this concentration of economic power by two huge financial corporations who use profits earned on the backs of consumers to advance their predatory political agendas.
Send a letter via e-mail asking the Bank Commissioner to oppose this merger, by clicking this link:
Let the Bank Commissioner know this merger is bad for consumers and harmful to the democratic and economic health of our country!
The two companies and their employees have given federal candidates and parties nearly $22 million over the past 15 years - making a merged BofA-MBNA America's top corporate contributor (Charlotte Observer, July 7, 2005)
MBNA showered millions on federal candidates (more than 1.5 million in 2004 alone) as it took a leading role lobbying for bankruptcy "reform" - legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Bush on April 20, 2005 that will make it much harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy.
A merged Bank of America-MBNA's credit card division would become the largest in the nation, with 40 million active cardholders and $143.2 billion in outstanding balances - a market share over 20% according to The New York Times, July 2, 2005. If this merger is approved, the top ten credit card issuers would control over 80% of the market. Already, credit card pricing is anything but competitive. While the prime rate fell by 4.5% (from 8.75% in February 2000 to 4.25% in November 2002), the average credit card interest rates fell by only 1.52% during this period (from 14.3% to 12.78%).
BofA's lending record shows disparate treatment of minorities. In Delaware, during 2004 BofA denied applications of African Americans 2.99 times more frequently than whites and Hispanics 3.31 times more frequently than whites. In its home state of North Carolina, BofA in 2004 denied the applications of African Americans 2.11 times more frequently than whites and was 3.19 times more likely to confine African Americans to higher cost / rate spread loans than whites. Nationwide in 2004, for home purchase loans BofA denied applications from Hispanics 2.104 times more frequently than from whites, and non-Hispanic Blacks 2.063 times more frequently than non-Hispanic whites. In 2004, MBNA's rejection rate on refinance loan applications for white borrowers was 35%. For African American borrowers it was 54%. For Hispanic borrowers it was 82%. Over 48% of MBNA's loans to African-Americans in 2004 were high cost loans.
Bank of America is extensively involved in subprime lending. It controls a majority stake in the subprime lender OwnIt Mortgage. It securitizes high interest rate loans through Banc of America Securities, LLC, Banc of America Mortgage Capital Corporation and its 100%-owned (but generically-named) subsidiary Asset Backed Funding Corporation - a Delaware corporation. It purchases loans of subprime lender Ameriquest - which just settled predatory lending charges with multiple states. Finally, BofA arranged a syndicated credit line for Advance America - the largest U.S. payday lender, with 2,208 stores in 34 states. Bank of America has assets of $736 billion at Advance America as of end of 2003.
TAKE ACTION TODAY to help stop this OUTRAGEOUS MERGER!