It's Official: Bank of America Has the Worst Reputation in the Banking Industry

People hate Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) . And they do so with a vehemence typically reserved only for enemies of state.

Over the weekend, we published a surprisingly popular article about recent testimony from former employees of the bank -- I strongly encourage you to check it out and, if nothing else, browse through the comment section. The testimony alleged, among other things, that Bank of America systematically delayed and unjustly denied mortgage modifications under the 2009 Home Affordable Modification Program. As a result, thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people unnecessarily suffered the indignity of losing their homes to foreclosure.

Why would Bank of America do this? According to one of the former employees, "[supervisors] regularly told us that the more we delayed the HAMP modification process, the more fees Bank of America would collect." So there you have it. If you unjustly lost your home to foreclosure courtesy of the nation's second largest bank by assets, at least you can sleep easy knowing that it made money off your misery. Exorbitant executive salaries don't pay themselves, you know.

Hyperbole aside, given this type of behavior, it's no surprise that Bank of America isn't held in very high esteem by either its customers or the public at large. But just how much is its reputation suffering? According to a recent survey by American Banker, it has the worst reputation of every bank that the publication examined.

The following table reveals a partial list of the results. The second and third columns contain the "reputation scores" of the institutions, which are "based on answers to survey questions measuring trust, admiration and respect, good feeling and overall esteem for specific brands."

While this list contains scores for only 10 of the 30 institutions examined, I trust you can get a sense for how things panned out for Bank of America. And to be clear, it was also the worst-performing bank of the entire bunch, not just the 10 above. Not only did it score the worst in terms of its own customers, but its reputation among non-customers was leaps and bounds below the next-worst performer, Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) , which had a non-customer reputation score of 42.38 compared to Bank of America's 35.09.

One consolation here is that all of the too-big-to-fail banks settled at the bottom of the list. Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) , in particular, was held in only slightly better regard by its own clientele, with a second-worst customer score of 55.75. And JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) , while better, still found itself in the bottom third, with a markedly higher customer score, but one of the worst in the group in terms of how non-customers perceive it.

Regardless, the point here is that this is a problem for Bank of America. And I don't mean that it's a feel-good problem. Yes, it'd be nice for every company to treat the world and their customers in a friendlier manner, but let's be real: That just isn't going to happen. In this case, however, the overwhelming quantity of disdain heaped upon Bank of America is almost certainly having a substantive impact on its performance. And this is why it's time for the bank to get its act together.

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Read/Post Comments (23) | Recommend This Article (7)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 25, 2013, at 10:56 PM, homelessgdog wrote:

    Funny thing is B of A has screwed so many folks with mortgages, daily fees, transaction fees, etc yet people are so forgiving they haven't yanked their funds out of B of A, including myself. My wife has been with them for 38 of her 40 years of life. She will not go to any other bank. Go figure?

  • Report this Comment On June 25, 2013, at 11:06 PM, Z0N wrote:

    It could be worse, they could have asked for the thoughts of their employees. As a former, I can assure it would be a lot worse.

  • Report this Comment On June 25, 2013, at 11:11 PM, makeuhappy wrote:

    Does this surprise you? I was a manager in the B of A loan mod unit for 3 yrs. I had to find another position due to being unable to be part of such a depressing situation. We had NO intention of helping our customers. Loans would be passed back in forth between UW and the CRM's. Once it finally left our group there was not any way to find out if it went through the final mod. John Berens now runs this group and he is a joke. I sat through his town hall in Chandler the other day and he was more concerned about throwing gifts to the crowd than really telling us how we could help our customers.

  • Report this Comment On June 25, 2013, at 11:57 PM, callabman wrote:

    Bank of America has the most deserved reputation as being the WORST bank in banking.

    IF you have never experienced BOA, take a moment to experience what so many people have experienced.

    You can do this in the privacy of your own home. Place your thumb inside the window sill of a double hung window or inside the jamb of a heavy exterior door and slam it shut!

    If you did this, you now know this experience is more enjoyable than a relationship with Bank of America.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 12:02 AM, lguthrie0439 wrote:

    Please understand folks, Bank of America screwed thousands of people out of their homes and 401k's, & messed up thousands of people's lives 4 ever. Who has to pay for all the damage that has been done to the American people? How can anyone repay for such damage? The Gov. has not even attempted to make them payback for the damage they've done to all the people, all they have done is give them more money to put in their pocket. If it would've been me or you do this, we would be in prison for the rest of our life. This is just not against the law, It violates all the rights of the constitution for free people. The only way to help is to help each other. TAKE BANK OF AMERICA DOWN!!!

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 12:06 AM, lguthrie0439 wrote:

    Everyone should get their money out of Bank of America, stop paying their mortgages, and credit cards. Bank of America should be working for US, not us working for them, paying a handful of CEO's that know how to break the law. We need help from the Judge's and the Court's to stop them!

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 7:13 AM, robbycop1 wrote:

    Bank of America engages in the biggest legal thievery in the USA. They had the nerve to call my home ask me to do a phone survey with them. I told them Bank of America does nothing nice for me and I wasn't going to do anything nice for them. I hung up. I have a checking/savings with them with a mere pittance that I put in there every month for local, miniscule purchases. My investment money and social security and pensions go into my credit union. I abhor the B of A.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 7:25 AM, birder1500 wrote:

    Sort of surprises me that BAC scored as high as it did.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 7:55 AM, Rusty56 wrote:

    Bunch of losers who shouldn't have taken a loan out previously anyway. Now they want to blame the big bad bank. The only reason the bank has lowest readings is because of the media like this foolish author John. Look at the bottom 4 on the list, all the household names. Most people don't even know who the top banks on the list are, duh!! Now go find new teller jobs at Suntrust will ya!!

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 7:55 AM, ForReal614 wrote:

    Five years ago after years of my never being late on any payment to any creditor, BoA drastically reduced the limit on my credit card (by 90%) because they decided I had too much debt. So I paid off the little I owed them and closed the account.

    Now I've paid off my mortgage, car loan, student loan, and credit card debt and have money to invest. I can assure everyone that not one penny will be with BoA. Every time I get an offer from BoA in the mail, I return it with a "no thanks" and some choice language that I cannot repeat here.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 7:56 AM, jgetze wrote:

    What I find funny is that this survey would have to ask 100 people to find 40 that didn't do business with Bank of America.

    Read the comments. These are primarily people who know nothing about banks or banking. They believe the lies they read in the media.

    YOU should read that lawsuit. All six of those "former employees" use almost exactly the same quotes. Gee, could the lawyers have coached them?

    BofA will be around long after The Motley Fool.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 8:19 AM, lm1b2 wrote:

    My experience with Bank of America taught Me one thing,i would go to a Loan Shark before i would ever do business with them again.To think there Italian Founder after the San Francisco Earthquake gave out Loans to destitute people on a hand shake,he must be turning over in his grave now on how they are doing business these days !

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 2:12 PM, lllumpfish wrote:

    Nice stuff.Its amazing how deep the lameness of most folks can be to not demand from each other and our elected officials and these criminal banks that they stop there bs immediately.The fact that we the people and the tax dollars and retirement funds are funding are own foreclosures and then our banks get all the profit,pay-offs,settlement funds,bail-out funds and then our homes,its all so great.Last thing lets not let US Bank get away so easy they have put there name as trustee and such on nearly all the foreclosures in America since day one.They are str8 scum.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 3:27 PM, prhuds00 wrote:

    I remember back around the 1970s bofa was laying off staff at all of their branches. anyone whos job it was to take care of customers. no upper level jobs were on the line at that time. then they started closing branches and more jobs were lost. they trimed the fat and the fat was us the people with checking accounts and saving accounts. we were not where they saw their profits coming from. so less banks less staff to assit us. its always been the same screw the working people with the accounts that hold less than what? a million? just the other day I received an check from the state of California drawn on an bofa account bofa refused to cash it because I was not an customer. the check was for $4.98 the fee to cash it as an non customer $5.00. I stll can not believe that we helped them when things got bad. they would not do the same for anyone. they even paid all of those real fat bonuses even though the gov. told them not to.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 6:14 PM, neelvk wrote:

    I have been a BofA customer since Feb 1999. Not a month goes by when BofA tries its best to lose me as a customer. I hate hate hate them. And once you set up all the autopays, it is darned hard to undo it all (but I am doing it).

    BofA takes perverse pleasure in hurting its customers.

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2013, at 12:04 AM, Nycjr111 wrote:

    To all u homeowners with a note / mortgage w bofa. Did u know that after 91 days of default the investor owner of the note/mort puts in a claim with the insurance company that secures your loan? And they get 100% of te loan. Yet they still have the odacity to foreclosure and sell the mortgage but did u also kmow that when they sell they sell in an instrument called trustee? This may have a glitch in your loan. They may not even be the owners of the mortgage and meanwhile they're foreclosing. So you can sue them or counter sue them. This is called quite title action. Lengthy but at least ur confronting who u thought was a big old monster. YouTube quite title.

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2013, at 12:10 AM, Nycjr111 wrote:

    Bofa really sucks. I wouldn't give them any business or ever in my life time have an account with them nor wells, or any of most of these banks on the list. I rather go to a credit union or local neighborhood bank. Bofa needs to be brought down by the Feds. Phh hold up but the treasury dept whom manages HAMP mods are also creatin this convoluted issue with HAMP mods. 917-830-6308

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2013, at 9:32 AM, williambonney wrote:

    Complain! Complain! Complain!

    Tell Obama. Someone voted for him.

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2013, at 9:51 AM, stopthefraud wrote:

    Has anyone noticed that news has stopped coming from the AIG v. B of A settlement hearings in New York? This is how Bank of America continues to get away with fleecing America. It seems to control the news. Come on NewsCorp, forget about Paul Deen and get back on to something that affects every single American.

  • Report this Comment On July 01, 2013, at 9:30 PM, apscyh wrote:

    If I want to ruin my day, all I have to do is call up Bank of America. Fortunately I am only paying off one credit card with them, but it has been the worst experience. I feel horrible for the people who have their mortgages through B of A. I think I would be better off just continually banging my head against the wall, then trying to engage in a rational conversation with them. I called B of A tried to explain to them that I was neither getting monthly e-statements or paper statements. The customer rep on the other end argued about this and told me I had to be getting statements because the computer "told her so." I think they purposely mess up transaction so they can add an extra fee or increase their interest rates! This bank has a lot of blood on its hands. They have ruined the lives of many, it is amazing that there has been no criminal prosecutions.

  • Report this Comment On July 01, 2013, at 9:30 PM, apscyh wrote:

    If I want to ruin my day, all I have to do is call up Bank of America. Fortunately I am only paying off one credit card with them, but it has been the worst experience. I feel horrible for the people who have their mortgages through B of A. I think I would be better off just continually banging my head against the wall, then trying to engage in a rational conversation with them. I called B of A tried to explain to them that I was neither getting monthly e-statements or paper statements. The customer rep on the other end argued about this and told me I had to be getting statements because the computer "told her so." I think they purposely mess up transaction so they can add an extra fee or increase their interest rates! This bank has a lot of blood on its hands. They have ruined the lives of many, it is amazing that there has been no criminal prosecutions.

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2014, at 8:25 PM, KeithSales wrote:

    MBNA have just announced their severance from Amazon (20th August 2014). I've terminated my agreement with MBNA as its no longer worth it, particularly when they demand payment on days when they do not post payments to your account, such as weekends and bank holidays, even though they have your money - and then charge interest and fees for YOUR 'late payment!

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2014, at 1:52 PM, Beast101 wrote:

    I tried to make a deposit into another person's account at BOA today. (I don't have an account there thank God). It literally took me 25-30 minutes because they only had one teller. I talked with the manager and he told me that the executives are rolling out a "reduced employee" policy and that it would be the norm. Every person in line was disgruntled at having to wait so long. Imagine 12 -15 people with one teller. So the people that are speaking well of BOA should get used to standing in long lines and poor service. It's their due for being an idiot.

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