For nearly a year now a battle has been raging between myself and Bank of America regarding their policy that those with Power of Attorney for their parent(s) are not allowed to have online banking access. I can write checks, I can deposit money, I can get balance printouts at the bank or over the phone…but I can’t have online banking. This means that any bills you have to pay have to be sent old school through snail mail, no electronic withdrawals. And to top it off, you better call or drive over to the local branch to see how much money is in there before you write a single check.

Because of this incredibly frustrating conundrum, I decided I have had enough. I wrote a letter (via email) to the President & CEO of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan…

Mr. Moynihan,
  My name is Kevin Harris and I wanted to reach out to you as a concerned consumer who has had some less than exemplary experiences doing business with your institution. Allow me please to explain from the beginning.
In September 2012 my mother, a long time Bank of America customer, suffered a massive stroke which left her incapable of handling her affairs. Nearly two years earlier my father passed away of prostate cancer and shortly thereafter my mother had a Power of Attorney created in the event she became incapable of handling her affairs. As her Power of Attorney, I have been fulfilling my responsibilities in that role since she was afflicted by the stroke. However, late last year I lost all access to her Bank of America online banking. As a result it has created a number of problems, including several bounced checks. I visited my local Bank of America branch (Old Bridge Rd, Woodbridge, VA) and stated my case to them. I needed online banking just for the purpose of insuring there are sufficient funds to cut checks to pay her expenses and so that my mother’s accountant has the information she needs for taxes and year end accounting.
The staff at the Lake Ridge Bank of America have been anything but helpful. They have complied with company regulations and policies to the letter. I spoke to the bank manager, Dania Mendez, about a month ago about escalating my case to gain access to online banking. About 10 days later I was informed that the decision remained that I would not be able to access online banking.
This makes things very difficult for me and overcomplicated. My mother has accounts at other banking institutions, most notably BB&T (Branch Banking & Trust). None of these other institutions have restricted me from online banking on her behalf. None of them have inflicted the amount of frustration on me that your bank has.
Today I visited the Lake Ridge banking center again, because I needed to get copies of cancelled checks for my mother’s Medicaid lawyer who is working on getting my mother enrolled. Once again I was met with fierce resistance. Considering the number of times I have been to this bank and presented them with my Durable General Power of Attorney, they failed to store that information in the system. So I had to drive back home, get the POA again and then proceeded to sit for over 90 minutes while the banking representative phoned the document review team and then proceeded to do the necessary paperwork to order the cancelled checks.
Unfortunately these repeated failures, on the part of your banking staff and as a result of ridiculously stiff banking policies, is leaving me little choice but to redirect the direct deposits from Social Security and from the V.A. Survivor Benefits Program from your bank to BB&T and then to close the account with your institution. Unless of course there is something you can do to help clear up the red tape and the tear down the unscalable wall of policies that are preventing me from being able to do my job as my mother’s Power of Attorney.
I thoroughly understand that we live in a wicked and sinful world where children would steal from their parents, abuse and dishonor the institution of Power of Attorney. I understand that fraud and identity theft are a real concern for any banking institution. But I am not a wicked person, I was raised by a West Point graduate, I live my life by that Academy’s philosophy of duty, honor and country. I am a good person who is trying to love and honor his mother by fulfilling my responsibilities as her son and her POA. It is my sincere hope that you can help solve this dilemma for me so I am not placed into the difficult position of ending a long standing relationship with Bank of America.
Thank you very much for your time and attention.
Sincere regards,
Kevin Harris
A few days later I received a response from one of his officers by email, asking me to call him to try and resolve this problem. I called and left a message – whatever happens next I will post in Chapter 2 of this story.
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