For most of yesterday´s House Financial Services Committee Hearing, during which the CEOs of the Big Eight banks testified, it would have been easy to forget about the masses of Americans who are supposedly so mad about big bank bailouts that a solid, all-hands-on-deck rescue package would have sent them over the moon. The questions were tame; the anger was scarce. But though it was missing from the Rayburn building yesterday, unfiltered rage is alive and well and living on the Internet.
Bank of America, for instance, has no less than three sites devoted to hating it (bankofamericasucks.com; bofasucks.wordpress.com; ihateboa.com), with content ranging from customer complaints to photos and videos of a 20-foot banner trashing the bank. ("The reaction from everyone is GREAT," the banner´s creator wrote on his page).
The proliferation of BofA-bashing sites isn´t unique. Wellsfargosucks.com is where angry customers can go to post their "horror stories" about banking at Wells. One man writes of going on vacation only to find out that while he was away his car was repossessed by the bank because of a computer error. A similar cyber-spot exists for complaints about JPMorgan Chase.
And the ghosts of giants past still have their share of Web demons clinging to them. The administrators of Washingtonmutualsucks.org have updated the site to reflect JPMorgan´s purchase of the failed thrift. It may be changing hands, but they still hate it. The folks at washingtonmutualsucks.com aren´t quite as current and the site is just a relic, an artifact of failed mortgage lending policies.
There´s a Countrywide kewpie too, but it´s a little out of date. A similar site sells T-shirts and coffee mugs with slogans like "Countrywide can screw anything up! Ask me how..." And though the lender itself is gone the merchandise is still available for purchase.
In a sense, it looks like big bank executives have cause to feel singled out. There weren´t similar cyber-mobs for regional banks like Key, Fifth Third, M&T or BB&T. But those banks did have individual detractors, loners posting comments on consumer review sites with just as much furor as their compatriots. And they don´t have nearly as many customers as the four remaining behemouths do, so it´s probably not a fair comparison.
Then again, maybe there really is such a thing as "too big to love."