Big banks have big reputations. They’re too big to fail. Miss a payment and they will foreclose on your house. They will haunt you into the afterlife. You know, stuff like that. Now, it seems like Bank of America has realized that the public image might not be so great. The BoA legal department provides pro bono aid to lawyers and families, most recently in Charlotte, North Carolina. But Bank of America might find its image is more difficult to shed than that.
Bank of America debt settlement lawyers will be the first to tell you that the bank operates a little differently than most others — especially when it comes to haunting those who default on their debt payments. You see, most banks (and creditors in general) will actually sell off the debt to a third-party when the debtor fails to pay. But not Bank of America. They have their own legal department come after you. Word on the street is that they can actually be pretty relentless. Which is why the bank’s need for an image reversal is no big surprise to anyone.
But admittedly, they’re still accomplishing some good work.
Assistant General Counsel Brett Shockley decided to take Bank of America up on its pro bono offer, and worked with the bank on the housing team in order to represent tenants who have trouble with their landlords. Can’t get the guy to fix the pipes? A small pro bono claim is no big deal to Bank of America’s huge legal department, because they can swallow the cost without even noticing.
Brett said, “Working with Legal Aid has been an eye-opening experience. I have a much greater appreciation of the struggles that low-income people face on a day-to-day basis.”
And it’s that empathy some lawyers sorely need.
Global General Counsel David Leitch said, “We are committed to doing our part to assist all members of our community, but especially those who are most vulnerable and have the greatest need. Our team gives their time and expertise to assist on a wide-range of legal issues, including anti-discrimination in housing, estate planning, helping veterans access their benefits, tax preparation, and child custody issues.”
Dawn Sewell works as a process design consultant for Bank of America’s legal department. He served as a team leader on Charlotte’s pro bono projects, and everyone he interacts with on a daily basis knows that he provides this service on behalf of the bank.
Dawn said, “The expectation of pro bono service is set at our department’s highest levels of management. We should be very proud of those who answer the call to give up their time and energy. We have the power to improve the lives of our least-represented neighbors in real and practical ways.”
Although providing free legal aid to those who live in poverty will always be a worthy endeavor, it’s one that’s unlikely to be noticed by the public eye — and so BoA might have to work harder yet to change that image in any meaningful way.