The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ali Jost, 202-730-7159,Mark McCullough, 202-730-7283,Kawana Lloyd, 202-730-7087

10 Questions to Ask Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis at House Testimony on Disastrous Merrill Lynch Purchase

Employees, Consumers, Taxpayers and Shareholders Fed Up With Lewis’ Failed Leadership Demand Answers


of Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis' testimony before the House Committee
on Oversight and Government Reform, the Service Employees International
Union (SEIU) compiled the top ten questions that employees, consumers,
taxpayers and shareholders would like reporters and legislators to ask
Ken Lewis.

"SEIU hopes members of the
Committee are as tough on Ken Lewis as we would be if we could get him
under oath and under the bright lights," said SEIU Secretary-Treasurer
Anna Burger.

"Ken Lewis was at the center of
Bank of America's disastrous 'bigger at any cost' model of banking.
Today, as Bank of America stock prices have dropped by more 90 percent
and after the bank received access for up to $195 billion in taxpayer
bailout funds, workers, consumers and taxpayers are footing the bill
for Ken Lewis' failed gamble."

"Now, Bank of America workers have started speaking out and demanding change. Enough
is enough. It's time for Bank of America and Ken Lewis to do what's
right and spell out steps to become a partner for America's families
instead of a toxic asset."

Here are a few questions that Bank of America workers and SEIU members would ask Ken Lewis if given the chance:

  1. How can you commit to pay for former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo's legal defense-"a million a month" according to Bloomberg-while
    Bank of America announced layoffs for 35,000 employees and refuses
    cost-of-living raises for its lowest-wage workers?

  1. Why
    do you nickel and dime your lowest paid workers (tellers earn
    $10.50/hour without access to affordable health insurance) at the same
    time you shower lavish perks and deals for executives and traders?

  1. As
    Bank of America employees speak out about unpaid overtime and a
    predatory sales culture, what do you plan to do to improve employment

  1. Given
    dismal economic performance, low-staff morale, and a core business
    model of pushing debt on consumers, what has Bank of America done to
    meet its stated goal of being "the world's most admired company?"

  1. After
    reportedly receiving tax breaks, and more than $195 billion in
    bailouts, government guarantees, and taxpayer-funded healthcare for its
    workers, what is Bank of America's plan to reduce its dependence on the
    U.S. taxpayer?

  1. After
    being bailed out by hard-working taxpayers facing the toughest economic
    times since the Great Depression, do you think it's right for Bank of
    America to lobby against laws that would helps working families-like
    the Employee Free Choice Act, healthcare reform, and credit card reform?

  1. As
    you argue against any laws that would create greater transparency in
    the industry, could you tell us what other calamities on your books you
    are hiding? First it was the Merrill Lynch deal-what's the next shoe to

  1. During
    your time as CEO, at what point did cutting costs and gouging customers
    with unnecessary products and skyrocketing fees become more important
    than customer satisfaction?

  1. At
    a time when people are struggling, have you considered lowering banking
    and overdraft fees that are already higher than many other
    non-bailed-out banks?

  1. Why do you create incentives for Bank of America employees to push further debt on customers?

With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers--not just corporations and CEOs--benefit from today's global economy.