Polly wants a lawyer!

One side effect form the fallout from Bank of America’s announcement earlier this week concerning the demise of overdraft charges is a renewed spotlight on a Pennsylvania woman who came home from work to find her house padlocked, wrongfully foreclosed on by BOA, and her pet parrot (actually named Luke instead of Polly) taken away to boot.

An editorial in the Boston Globe tells the story:

Luke belongs to Angela Iannelli, a part-time bartender and diner owner in Pennsylvania, who even though she had not defaulted on her mortgage payments, returned home one day in October to find the bank had mistakenly sent someone to turn off the electricity and padlock the door — and that he’d also taken her pet parrot. Iannelli filed a lawsuit against Bank of America this week, in part to compensate for the anxiety she suffered being separated from her pet for more than a week.

The lawsuit may seem dramatic, but with all the mortgage foreclosures underway, it’s not that rare for lenders or their contractors to mix-up addresses as seems to have happened in Iannelli’s case. The errors are humiliating for everyone involved, and should be a priority for mortgage lenders to fix.

Still, the collective squawking over the plight of the pet parrot seems to be drowning out the debit card policy change, which deserves scrutiny. Most banks make serious money off their overdraft fees.It remains to be seen whether Bank of America will compensate for the loss of that income with higher fees for other aspects of banking. The bank’s customers would do well to keep a watchful eye on its next moves — whether they are checking account holders or borrowers who leave much-loved pets at home.

My interest in the Globe is usually limited to whether it arrives before 6:00 AM (good) or afterwards (bad), but in this case I think their editorial is spot-on!

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