Former Bank employees say they were forced to violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

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As an update to yesterday's blog on bank employees speaking out against predatory practices -today comes with claims that some bank employees felt forced to take part in illegal debt collection practices as well as"pushing premium services to those who don't need - or can't afford - them" as a requirement of their job duties. A practice of humiliating their customers by contacting their neighbors hoping to shame them into paying their delinquent debt is a practice that clearly violates the FDCPA.

Former Bank of America employees have been bravely coming forward to openly share and air dirty laundry once kept hidden from public view because they felt fearful they would lose their job. Chris Feener, a former BofA worker, openly says he and his fellow team members regularly took part in humiliating customers in hopes of shaming them into paying their debt. "We were required to call every customers neighbor on every account--the sole purpose was to embarrass the customer and encourage the neighbor to personally bring a phone note to the neighbor to deliver the messages for us."

According to SEIU, (Service Employees International Union) the BofA employees who shared their stories all acknowledged they knew practices like the ones described above, were in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act -but understandably felt their jobs were on the line and had to do as they were told.  Without any real whistle-blower protections, doing so is putting their very livelihoods on the line.

SEIU's blog further notes that both U.S. PIRG and the National Association of Consumer Advocates have proposed new protections to ensure front-line bank workers can speak out against  illegal and unethical practices they discover while on the job. But you guessed it. The lending industry is gearing up for a major battle against any type of whistle-blower protection and against a newly proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. SEIU reports the industry has been consulting with pr companies who can help portray these types of necessary consumer and financial industry protections in an unfavorable light that will basically attempt to scare Americans.  It certainly appears as though the financial industry wants to continue to operate business as usual -even while we are in unusual times!

For more on this story, and to find out how you can take action to support these bank workers and a consumer protection agency, see yesterday's blog here.

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