Make us your home page
Instagram

Bank of America's campaign to fight WikiLeaks is flawed

If Bank of America were to rebrand itself based on major events of recent years, it might start calling itself the Bad Karma Bank given all of its self-inflicted, dunderheaded publicity.

B of A's purchase of stock brokerage giant Merrill Lynch was a public relations and shareholder disclosure disaster. The undignified retirement of former CEO Ken Lewis, a big player in building the megabank, was hardly what he or the bank had hoped for. B of A's ill-conceived purchase of Countrywide Home Loans spurred the bank's decision Monday to buy back billions in soured mortgages from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

And B of A's prominent role in home foreclosure practices from hell — especially targeting the wrong homes in foreclosure action, including the one that was paid for in cash and others already sold to new buyers — raises issues of competence, if not negligence.

Now looms WikiLeaks, the new online enterprise that's already published reams of revealing and embarrassing U.S. diplomatic cables. Wiki­Leaks chief Julian Assange recently indicated there soon will be a dump of internal documents from a big bank. The bet is the records are from Bank of America, documents that WikiLeaks says will reveal an "ecosystem of corruption."

While Bank of America isn't entirely sure it's the bank in WikiLeaks' sights, the institution is taking defensive steps in case those documents are as damaging as promised.

The bank has assembled a team of 15 to 20 top officials lead by aptly titled chief risk officer Bruce R. Thompson to scour internal documents in case they become public and to review cases in which lost or misplaced laptops may have compromised B of A records systems, reports the New York Times.

The bank hired consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton to help manage its internal review, and talked to some high-powered law firms. This is already getting pricey. But this last step taken by B of A is my favorite.

Well aware that the Internet is notorious for creating websites that can criticize and insult big companies for any number of reasons, the bank has reportedly hired a company to register more than 300 mostly naughty website addresses with domain names that could disparage Bank of America Corp. executives and directors. California-based MarkMonitor registered these websites, which include names most likely to malign the bank or its top executives. Among those registered, which means others may not use the site names: BrianMoynihanSucks.com and BrianTMoynihanSucks.com. Moynihan is Bank of America's CEO. This is a loser's game. For example, the website BrianMoynihan­Stinks.com was not registered. And there are thousands of other derogatory domain name options.

If MarkMonitor's strategy was to protect Bank of America's reputation on the Internet, it's not working so far. A Web-based news service called Domain Name Wire last month reported on MarkMonitor's massive name registration on behalf of Bank of America.

The Dec. 20 story carried the blazing headline "Bank of America Wants You To Know Its Executives Don't Suck."

Robert Trigaux can be reached at trigaux@sptimes.com.

Bank of America's campaign to fight WikiLeaks is flawed 01/03/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 3, 2011 9:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  2. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks

    Business

    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  3. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  4. Guilty plea for WellCare Health Plans former counsel Thaddeus Bereday

    Business

    Former WellCare Health Plans general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District …

    WellCare Health Plans former general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida stated Wednesday. [LinkedIn handout]
  5. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes

    Transportation

    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community over the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at the DOT’s Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Avenue.