Community says BofA bailing out

10:52 PM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
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A customer uses a Bank of America ATM (Getty Images)

ATLANTA -- It seems if you want to get someone mad, talk about banks.

"They owe this community an apology," said Annie Charles after leaving the Bank of America branch at 2050 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway in Northwest Atlanta.

Charles is upset because the bank is closing the branch March 8th.

"They're saying that business is down in this particular area," added Emmie Hammonds, who says she's banked at the location for 50 years.

"We've served you and we want you to continue to serve us," Hammonds said.

Bank of America says its decision is "driven primarily by a significant decline in transactions" and that it has been trying to work closely with the community to help them transition to more online and ATM banking.

Senator Vincent Fort says it's not enough.  He feels the bank owes it to the community to stay open.

"They told us essentially to drop dead.  Bank of America has done a lot of bad things in that community. One, bad predatory loans for people they knew who couldn't afford the loans. Two, they foreclosed on those properties illegally and three they don't maintain those properties that they foreclosed on," said Fort.

Bank of America disputes the allegations.  In a statement to 11Alive it said:

Through the National Mortgage settlement alone, we have approved or completed almost $145 million in first and second lien consumer relief for nearly 2,200 homeowners in the state.

Bank of America recently completed an inspection of bank owned properties in the area and we are committed to maintain properties to neighborhood standards.





It asked residents who feel otherwise to report problems with its bank owned properties by calling 866-515-9759.

The bank says it's donated money to the Fulton County Department of Aging to transport customers to and from the Dogwood Senior Center to nearby Bank of America banking centers and will hold a series of financial literacy seminars specific to the needs of seniors.

But seniors aren't the only ones with needs. That's why the community still plans to rally in front of the building next Tuesday at 2:30, in hopes of chainging the banks mind.

Ced Wilson says he also joined nearly 500 other residents in signing a petition, asking the same.

"My mother lives in this neighborhood and she doesn't have access to a bank and I don't have transportation so what are we to do," asked Wilson.

In the meantime, local leaders say they're also reaching out to other banks to see if one of them would be willing to move into the space.

The community is heavily dependent on public transportation, which they say makes the closing even more difficult.  There isn't another bank for at least two miles and the closest full service BofA branch is five miles away.

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