Yesterday evening, I noted that the loan from my divorce settlement moved from a fixed rate to a variable rate. I sent a polite, but strongly worded, email to a number of Bank of America personnel last night and received a call today from a Megan Riley from the CEO's office.
She pointed out (condescendingly, I thought) that my terminology was technically incorrect as the Prime Rate is just above 3%. Doing some research after the call, I realized that the 0% I was citing is actually the Federal Discount Rate. The problem is identical, though, since the Prime Rate is based on the Discount Rate. The Prime Rate goes up and down, pretty much in line with Discount Rate. And since the Discount Rate is 0 and can't go down, the Prime Rate ain't goin' down either. Wrong terminology on my part, but the exact same problem.
We moved on to my complaint that I don't feel this is right. She started to cite the Terms of Service, at which point I stopped her. I read the Terms of Service. I know there's language in there that says they can raise the rates at any time. I know they legally have the right to do that under that contract, and legally I have no real recourse. I said that's not the point. The point is that it's unethical of them and unfair to me and all of their other customers. She didn't even try to counter that.
I said that I don't agree to these changes, and I'm perfectly willing to take my business elsewhere. Megan responded that the changes don't affect the length of my loan (which I never brought up as an issue, since it clearly wasn't one, as expressly noted in the change of terms letter) and that the Prime Rate might not actually go up too much. Really? That's the best argument you've got? For me to hope that the economy continues to suck and the Federal Reserve doesn't increase the Discount Rate for the next four years until I can pay off the loan?
I reiterated that it WILL go up. It can't not. If I'm not given a fixed rate like I signed up for, I will take my business somewhere else. Megan said that all customers' rates were being switched to variable rates, and there were to be no exceptions. Bank of America no longer offers fixed rate loans. Period.
I told her that I have no qualms leaving them. It's a pain in the ass for me, but A) the new rate doesn't take effect until December and B) the Fed indeed isn't likely to raise the Discount Rate much, if at all, for a while after that. So I've got a little time to secure a new loan. "So just let me confirm this: you are completely unwilling to negotiate the terms of my loan?"
"We are not offering fixed rate loans for any of our customers."
"Then I will be taking my business elsewhere."
"I'm sorry to hear that, Mr. Kleefeld, but I hope..." Click.
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