Last year it was AT&T that drew the ire of union activists and advocates. This year it’s Bank of America.
Despite the fact he couldn’t read the signs because of his dyslexia, signs asking Bank of America to pay its fair share were at almost every single one of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s 17 town hall meetings.
On Thursday the largest bank in the state was the subject of a 12-page white paper by the group titled: “Bank of America in Connecticut: Profiting Without Pitching In.”
The report put together by the Connecticut Action Alliance for a Fair Economy alleges that Bank of America is able to avoid paying taxes at the state level through tax credits and subsidies. They also alleged the bank has virtually stopped lending through the SBA 7(a) program, the Small Business Administration’s main program.
In 2007, the bank made 170 SBA 7(a) loans in Connecticut for $4.8 million. In 2010, it made only two for a measly $75,000. They also hammered the bank for its role in foreclosure crisis saying rather helping Connecticut residents save their homes, it continues to operate the largest foreclosure mill of all the banks.
To add insult to injury the report says in 2009 Bank of America was among the top twenty five companies whose employees qualify for and receive state health subsidies. The report says 550 Bank of America employees and employees’ children were enrolled in the state’s Husky A and Husky B programs at that time.
T.J. Crawford, spokesman for Bank of America, who had no comment on a February protest outside one of its Hartford braches, sent an email to reporters Thursday responding to the report.
“The individuals behind this report are entitled to their own opinion, but they’re not entitled to their own set of facts,” Crawford said. “We take our responsibilities as a corporate citizen very seriously, and when we owe taxes we pay them. Over the last 10 years no company has paid more U.S. taxes than Bank of America.”
“With regard to small business lending, we continue to make every good loan we can—last year, we loaned $92 billion to small and medium-sized businesses nationwide, which is $10.5 billion more than in 2009. At the end of 2010, we had more than $1 billion in loan commitments to small businesses in Connecticut,” he added.
Crawford disputed the report’s allegations regarding its homeowner modification program too.
“Bank of America completed more than 790,000 modifications through all available programs (including HAMP) since January 2008,” Crawford said. “Finally, with regard to benefits, 84 percent of eligible employees participate in a company medical plan. All eligible employees earning less than $50,000 (approx. 90,000 employees) had a 50 percent decrease in per-pay-period costs for family coverage in 2011.”