Bank Of America Refuses To Allow Customers To Close Their Accounts At ‘Occupy Santa Cruz’ (VIDEO)

Author: October 15, 2011 7:35 pm

Bank of America in Santa Cruz. Image from

Two protesters involved with Occupy Santa Cruz in California walked into Bank of America earlier this week to close their own accounts as part of the national protest against the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street, which has only seen it’s profits soar since it nearly collapsed the economy back in 2008.

So Bank of America naturally closed the accounts, right? Not even close. Rather than allow their customers to close their accounts, they told them that “you can not be a protester and a customer at the same time.” The bank manager threatened to lock the doors and call the police to have their own customers arrested for the simple act of requesting the closure of their own accounts. The two women left the bank and called the police. The officer went into the bank and after talking to the manager, relayed a message to them. According to the bank manager, “If they came in with the signs and they were part of the protest earlier, then they are protesters and cannot be customers at the same time.”

Watch it:

Apparently, it is now a crime to close your bank account if it’s located at one of the big banks that nearly crashed the American economy. Just today, Citibank locked in their own customers and had them arrested for trying to close their own accounts. Just another reason why you should close your account if it’s in any big bank that hurt the economy and put your money in a small bank or a credit union. Banks are just looking for ANY excuse to keep the money they have in their banks. It shouldn’t matter if these folks are protesters or not. If you walk into a bank and request that your account be closed, the bank should give you your money and close the account. These banks are illegally holding the money these customers deposited, and they are willing to have their own customers arrested rather than give up money they want to gamble with. The police are arresting the wrong people.


facebook comments:


  • So write them a check. They can take it to another bank, which will deposit it, and they funds will be transferred electronically. just like any other check.
    That’s assuming payment isn’t stopped on the check as soon as the ex-customer walks out the door.

  • :) ya’re the fist post that I read who understood what really occurred..but at the same time it wasn’t rocket science.all you had to do was pay attention to the video.some people that commented on this made themselves idiots.

  • “Who here thinks it would be OK for pro-lifers to protest inside the clinic, or for those against gay marriage to protest in a church holding a service for a gay couple? You can’t have it both ways. The issue here is not that BoA refused customers to close their accounts, it’s that they kicked them out for protesting inside.”

    two things:

    1. Your comparisons are ridiculous, and are based on faulty logic. You ask if pro-lifers could protest inside a clinic. But the BoA protestors were CUSTOMERS of BoA who were protesting the bank’s actions. So unless the “pro-lifers” you mentioned are also CUSTOMERS of the abortion clinic, that analogy fails.

    Same with the gay marriage thing. If those protesting a gay marriage were also gay and married, you’d be on to something.

    Both ideas sound silly, right? Well that’s how silly your analogies are.

    2. You can’t read. The bank manager did not just kick out protesters. He also refused service to customers who had EARLIER been part of the protest:

    “According to the bank manager, ‘If they came in with the signs and they were part of the protest earlier, then they are protesters and cannot be customers at the same time.’”

    3. “Acting with intelligence and integrity is what’s going to make a change here. Not BS like this.”

    The protesters were acting with intelligence and integrity. They were attempting to remove their own money from the bank, and making sure that the reason for their withdrawal was clearly understood. Their actions brought further attention to an issue to which attention should have been paid a long time ago.

    The protesters were not being violent, they were simply making a point. How much longer do you think Americans should just keep bending over and taking it?

    • “”2. You can’t read. The bank manager did not just kick out protesters. He also refused service to customers who had EARLIER been part of the protest:””…are you blind or retarded..the bank manager was a female.and duh..that’s what was stated..they kicked out the protesting in the bank.

  • did you actually watch the video? one person carried a sign, one person carried a video camera. there was not a crowd of protestors, just three people. they were sitting quietly in the waiting area, simply wanting to close their accounts. when the manager said they were “protestors, not customers,” the person with the sign offered to set the sign aside. The manager refused and threatened to call the police. Furthermore, the manager cited a corporate policy, not a law. when asked, the person with the video camera left the building. these people were customers, and the bank overreacted. the bank looks bad, and may in fact have violated federal law by not allowing the customers to remove their money. and anyone who thinks the big banks are not afraid of the occupy movement should watch this egregious violation of the law.

  • So you don’t like B of A great. At the same time remember this is not only private property,but its against the law to film inside a bank. Is that so hard to understand. Be an adult,go close your account like anyone else. Move your money whereever you like. That bank manager is not the 1%.Protesting is one thing,their actions are another. There is no biases for a law suit NONE

  • But if the protesters have money in the bank and they enter the establishment for the purpose of closing their accounts, then at that point the protester becomes a customer. There is a clearly defined line there and the bank manager crossed it allowing the two to merge. It is bank manager’s error in business which has gained the attention of the world due to this issue. Nowhere in the article did it state that they were protesting inside the bank and unless you were there to varify that this is the case, then you can not reasonably assume that this is the case. It is more reasonable to believe that they were simply attempting to close their accounts in responce to the reasons they were protesting. These are two seperate issues. I believe this is a perfect example of how the government and its corporate affiliates are trying to control the people and this story should be out.

  • The bank has every right to keep protesters – people with signs and videos cameras – out of it’s establishment. That’s the issue here. Who here thinks it would be OK for pro-lifers to protest inside the clinic, or for those against gay marriage to protest in a church holding a service for a gay couple? You can’t have it both ways. The issue here is not that BoA refused customers to close their accounts, it’s that they kicked them out for protesting inside.
    There are plenty of better stories out that than this people. Acting with intelligence and integrity is what’s going to make a change here. Not BS like this.
    Reporting that “The bank manager threatened to lock the doors and call the police to have their own customers arrested for the simple act of requesting the closure of their own accounts.” is a lie. They kicked them out for protesting in the bank, not for trying to close their accounts. Come on Addicinginfo, you can do better than that.

  • …..Which civil rights were violated by asking them to leave private property when they were being disorderly?

    • Totally agree. BoA (while totally a big corrupt organization that should be shut down) was not in the wrong here.
      I’d also like to comment on the point where the protesters tell the banker woman “you are the 1%!”. Do they even know what that means. Labeling and name calling, especially when it’s not accurate, is not going to help our cause. That’s just like those who oppose or don’t understand the occupy movement calling everyone participating in it hippies, slackers and left wing nut jobs. It shows little intelligence and little understanding of the facts, and does nothing to support the actual ideas behind your side of the issue.

  • I must say that it in this case (B of A, not citibank) the banks reasoning is outrageous. If they are going to claim that these protesters can not be customers then they must close out the accounts and give them their money. If a bank can arbitrarily make up new rules on the spot as to who is not allowed to be a customer, and then refuse to serve them, in effect denying them money which they were entrusted to hold in safe keeping.

    If this is legally allowed then by the same reasoning the banks can arbitrarily decide that only paraplegics are allowed as customers and since most of you have the use of your limbs, you are no longer allowed to be customers, thus they can not serve you any longer and will not be able to give you the money which is rightfully yours. If they can confirm that you are not are not a paraplegic through any sort of public records then they can deny you access to all electronic banking services as well, by the same reasoning. This logic is indefensible. If they decide that they only accept paraplegics as customers, and can no longer accept customers with the use of all their limbs, then they must immediately return all funds to those who they can no longer serve.

    If you park a car in a car park and then go back to pick it up to find they changed their policies that afternoon to a senior citizen’s car park and will no longer serve people under the age of 60, they can not just keep all the cars belonging to people under 60. Sure a business can refuse customers at their own discretion, but they can not arbitrarily refuse to return property which rightfully belongs to other people.

    That said, if they simply insisted that the protesters leave their signs outside, if they simply said, sorry but we can’t allow the signs inside. I think that would be defensible. That may have been their basic intent, but there is a big problem with the language they chose – “you can not be a protester and a customer” combined with refusing them service and retaining those people’s funds, against their wishes, during business hours. That particular combination of language and actions is totally indefensible and cause for all people to lose all confidence in these big banks who can arbitrarily make up rules on the spot which allow them to refuse service to anyone at any moment, and keep their property. That kind of lack of confidence in an establishment which is meant to provide security and which we are meant to trust with all of our money? No way, that kind of lack of confidence is more than cause enough to dismantle these institutions completely.

  • No, but they can charge you for a defunct account without you knowing it, which then puts that account into default, which then puts bad marks on your credit rating and can blacklist you from opening accounts at other financial institutions. Best way to do it is to be polite and professional and close your account. You don’t have to give a reason for doing so.

  • Elizabeth Fox

    Just because they took their signs in with them? What if I have a OWS bumpersticker on my car? Does that make me a protestor? Maybe the just decided, on their way past, to go close their accounts, not as a part of the protest but simply because they were going to do it anyway and were in the area? Stupid banks.

  • Rather than trying to make a scene, they’re trying to make a point. Citibank and B of A aren’t helping themselves. Heck, even the Fox News website had a column SUPPORTING the protesters yesterday!

  • Since they were a customer before they were a protester and since the bank has it on record that they are a customer not on record that they are a protester, how can they deny them since they are a protester when B of A has it on record that they are a customer, since B of A says that you can not be both at the same time they can not technically be a protester and hold a B of A account at the same time… oh I know they were taught logic in the same school where they were taught ethics, economics and math.

  • Idiots looking for attention! If you really want to close your account put the sign and the camera down walk into the bank like a normal person and close it I can assure you the bank will not stop you.

    When you go in carrying picket signs and cameras you are obviously not there with the sole intention of withdrawing your money and while you intentions may have been peaceful the bank manager has know way of knowing this. As the manager of a bank she has a responsibility to the rest of us to ensure the bank doesn’t get robbed or looted or who knows what ….she did the right thing by asking you to leave.

  • Johnny Rabuse

    Your correct those piles of cash that are supposed to be in the vault are instead in CEO,s pockets because they sure arent anyplace else since they dont pay taxes… but even if they didn’t have “Cash” Im sure they have checks … and ink … Those women were sitting peacefully and not creating any drama so they had signs fine big deal be polite and cut the check and get them out …”The Customer is Always Right” not the “Customer gets arrested” but on top of it that particular branch has aprivate storm trooper outside thats what your 5 dollar ATM fee goes for … shame on them …

  • Beyond the illegality of the money theft, let’s not forget that this “bank manager” used force (her security guard) to kidnap the two women. “Locking them inside” until the police arrived? She’s damn lucky they didn’t smash out the front window to escape their kidnapper…

  • The money belongs to the customer, not the bank. If they want their money, no bank has the right to refuse them. Period.

  • That’s just too bad if they don’t have the piles of money that they would need to honor their committment. That’s a problem that they have to solve. It’s just another example of a broken system built on fiat money. End the Fed!!! Return control of our monetary system to Congress as per the Constitution! Back it with gold so it is worth something! Kennedy was shot for trying to do just that, (Executive Order 11110).

  • Mew – That’s the scary part about fractional banking – aint a lot of cash laying around. So the banks are helping to eventually create panic. No I wouldn’t want protestors in my bank either, but it wouldn’t be a problem would it if the banks were not party to the biggest corruption that has ever occurred and were bailed out while millions suffered loss. They should be begging for forgiveness.

  • Many times in our history have one privileged group or another believed they were above the law, or could make their own up, to suit whatever they want or need at a given moment. Bank of America seems to be suffering this delusion, and like all the others (British colonial governors, southern planters, steel/RR/oil/auto/shipping barons ca. 1900, McCarthy/Cohn/Nixon, etc. etc.). If this keeps up (and the OWS effort is only expanding, daily), B of A and some of the others are going to get themselves into real trouble, and I worry someone is going to get physically hurt. There is such arrogance and defiance on the part of these banks and brokers and funds who plunged the WORLD into chaos while they either suffered no risk or were rapidly bailed out even before the red ink dried, but also quite a lot of apprehension and tension, since they know that while for the moment they retain control of the system and a lot of power, that control and power is very fragile. One of these days I will pick up the paper or see it on a news site that a private security guard has wounded or killed an unhappy/dissatisfied depositor. Is that REALLY was the ‘free’ enterprise/market system is/has come to? It becomes criminal to exercise choice and take your business to the competition. Sounds dangerous, and more like a type of capitalo-socialism (since, ludicrously, corporations now have the same rights as human beings). Ugh. I did not sign up for this. My HS civics teacher is spinning in his grave (and Mr. Ludlow was a Goldwater republican! Actually, Barry Goldwater is probably shaking his head at us here below right now. Party like it’s 1989 (in Berlin, Budapest, or Prague!)

    • Alex, I couldn’t agree more! The banks (and mega corporations) are doing exactly what all the anti-big-government supporters are afraid of: creating monopolies and destroying competition and the free market. Ironic, isn’t it? Along with sad and very, very frightening!

  • Bank of America refusing to close the two customers accounts and advising them they can not be a customer and protestor at the same time is surely grounds for a nice civil rights violation suit, isn’t it?

  • If I owned a bank that was being protested, I wouldn’t allow protestors in either, regardless of whether or not they’re my customers.
    These people are just trying to make a scene – if they really wanted their accounts closed, they should just go to -another- branch. Citibank is huge, there must be a dozen branches in Santa Cruz alone.

    Besides, you do realise that most banks don’t actually have piles of money in the vault? Most of their money exists electronically. Certainly not enough to cover even a small percentage of their customers’ needs if they all decided to withdraw their balance.

  • If you wish to close your banks account…The best way is to go to the credit union of your choice… and authorise them to transfer your funds! No cops..No hassles!

  • Write a check to the credit union leaving your balance at zero. They can’t stop that!

  • Aliceandthecat

    Go Credit Union today. This is a good first step. Pay for everything with cash or prepaid cards if you must shop online. The banks have worked hard to defund American democracy, lets all work hard to defund the banks.

  • Charles Bruce Cobb

    Sounds like a good civil lawsuit and a class action suit.

  • Well, let’s say it is true and I can’t be a protester and a customer at the same time then that is EXACTLY WHY they should let them close their accounts so they can be just protesters… :)

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