Federal Reserve Bank Of Cleveland "Simulated" What It's Like To Be Poor At Omni Hotel Hovel

Bank of America's got similar event coming up at the end of the month, but at the Ritz.
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Do you have zero sympathy for poor people? Do you often find yourself shouting the phrase "get a job!"? Do you drip with disdain for those who require government assistance? Do you think anyone could earn a high 6 or 7-figure salary if they wanted, but choose not to because they're lazy? Do you think it's unlikely you'd ever feel an ounce of compassion for people who don't know when their next meal will come, unless you were to take part in some sort of elaborate role-playing game put on by a team of organizers wherein you pretend to be poor by day (but, thank god, receive turndown service at night)? Then it sounds like a "poverty simulation camp" might be right for you.

Advocates say the goal [of poverty simulation camps] is to encourage the affluent to use their time, money and influence to help find solutions. But critics point to a darker side, where participants can become what you might call misery tourists, collecting experiences and assuaging discomfort by having now done their part. The Singapore Island Country Club, for instance, was recently criticized when it planned a poverty simulation for its club members; it costs $21,000 a year to belong to the club. Some people accused the club of “trying to humiliate the poor” and called the undertaking an “exercise in futility.” The organizers postponed the event. ...Sometimes the locations where simulations are held can create an ironic image. Last year the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland held a policy summit that included a poverty simulation — at the Omni William Penn Hotel, a luxury property in Pittsburgh. The Bank of America Black Executive Leadership Council has a poverty simulation scheduled for June 29, 2016 at the upscale Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Misery Tourists: How the Wealthy Learn What It's Like to Be Poor [Fortune]

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Bank Of America Knows What You Did At Denny's 14 Years Ago

And it's going to fire you without pay over them, realize they did so in error, not feel bad about it and tell you to shoot HR a cover letter and résumé if you'd like the opportunity to try and get your old job back. Paul Boudwin knows what we're talking about. Boudwin's ordeal began in July 2011, when the bank was reviewing its employment records to ensure it complied with new federal rules that, among other things, require a criminal background check for anyone who works at a mortgage originator. When he was hired by the bank in 2006, Boudwin disclosed what he says was a legal misunderstanding from his college days. He and his best friend ate breakfast at a Denny's in Scottsdale, Ariz., near the Arizona State University campus. The place was a student hangout, and after they finished their meal, they mingled with other friends for a while. Each assumed the other had paid the check. When they left the restaurant an hour or so later, a manager confronted them outside, accused them of walking the check and called the police. They were arrested, paid a $50 fine and the $20 tab, tip included. The charge was later dismissed. "There was no intent for not paying for an omelet," Boudwin said. When Bank of America's review last year turned up the information about the omelet incident that Boudwin disclosed when he was hired, it set off a bureaucratic process impervious to reason. In a letter included in the lawsuit, the bank said the charge amounted to a "disqualifying conviction" under the law, which prohibits anyone convicted of an offense involving dishonesty or breach of trust from working at a financial institution. Boudwin submitted court records showing the charges were dismissed. Bank officials assured him the matter would be sorted out, and the bank even filed for a waiver from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on his behalf, court records show. However, the bank said because of the new rules, Boudwin couldn't continue to work during the six to nine months it might take to get the waiver. He was put on an unpaid leave of absence, and his Wharton trip was canceled. He was told he would receive his back pay and bonus when he was reinstated, he said. In late February of this year, his boss called. Boudwin thought his ordeal was over and the FDIC had granted the waiver. Instead, his boss told him he was being fired. The bank was tired of waiting, he said his boss told him. Two weeks later, the FDIC granted the waiver, but Bank of America refused to reinstate Boudwin to his old position. He was welcome to reapply, but his seniority, bonus and back pay would be lost. Unfortunately for Bank of America, Boudwin decided that appealing as that sounded, he'd prefer to win the money owed to him in court, and filed suit against BofA last week. Will his case set a precedent for financial service employees wrongfully fired over misunderstandings at Denny's, IHOP, OHOP, and local diners everywhere? Stay tuned. Bank Lays Egg In Omelete Case [Chronicle] Paul Boudwin Fired By Bank Of America Over Denny's Omelet Dispute [HP]

Small-Time Crooks No Longer Welcome At Wells Fargo, Bank Of America

Richard Eggers knows what we're talking about. The former farm boy speaks deliberately, can’t remember the last time he got a speeding ticket, and favors suspenders, horn-rimmed glasses and plaid shirts. But the 68-year-old Vietnam veteran is still too risky for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which fired him on July 12 from his $29,795-a-year job as a customer service representative. Egger’s crime? Putting a cardboard cutout of a dime in a washing machine in Carlisle on Feb. 2, 1963. “It was a stupid stunt and I’m not real proud of it, but to fire somebody for something like this after seven good years of employment is a dirty trick when you come right down to it,” said Eggers of Des Moines. “And they’re doing this kind of thing all across the country.” Big banks have been firing low-level employees like Eggers since the issuance of new federal banking employment guidelines in May 2011 and new mortgage employment guidelines in February. The tougher standards are meant to weed out executives and mid-level bank employees guilty of transactional crimes, like identity fraud or mortgage fraud, but they are being applied across-the-board thanks to $1-million-a day fines for noncompliance...Bank of America has embarked on a similar firing binge to shed any employee convicted of a criminal offense involving dishonesty, breach of trust or money laundering, employment attorneys say. Wells Fargo fires Des Moines worker for laundromat incident 49 years ago [DMR]

Bank Of America Makes Policy On Flashing Your Bare Ass At The Office Clear

Do you anticipate that at some point the future, in a moment of anger, you'll get the urge to unbuckle your belt, drop trou, and display your ass in the direction of your superiors? Do you hope to keep your job afterwards? If so, just a forewarning: Bank of America is not the company for you. Send a resumé to Citigroup or KKR or wherever. According to court documents, Jason Selch's friend Chris O'Dea was fired after he refused to accept lower compensation. This ticked Selch off. Selch burst into a conference room where executives from Columbia were meeting to give them a piece of his mind. He wound up giving them a piece of something else as well. First Selch asked if he had a non-compete agreement, which on Wall Street is usually a way of threatening to quit and go to work for a competitor. After the executives said he didn't have a non-compete, Selch mooned them, told one of the New York-based executives never to return to Chicago, and left the meeting. Extraordinarily, Selch wasn't fired. Instead he was issued a formal warning. Selch’s boss testified that while 99 percent of employees would have been immediately fired, Selch was one of the one percent who could be granted a one free mooning reprieve. The executive actually fought for Selch to keep his job. When Columbia CEO Brian Banks found out about this incident, he insisted that Selch be fired. The behavior was too “egregious” to allow Selch to continue at Columbia. No free mooning at Bank of America, Banks decided—even if you are in the one percent. The firing meant that Selch lost a multi-million contingent bonus package that would have vested if he had remained at the company a few months more. Because he was fired, Bank of America got the keep the money. Selch sued, arguing that firing him after issuing warning was a breach of contract...Last Wednesday, a three-judge appeals panel upheld the trial court, describing the mooning as “insubordinate, disruptive, unruly and abusive.” BofA Right to Fire Broker Who Mooned His Boss: Court [NetNet]

Bank Of America Hoping To Fire Thousands Of Employees In Record Time

Remember Project New BAC, i.e. Bank of America's plan to transform itself from Ken Lewis's house of fun, where everyone went home happy but the concept of making money was less of a focus than keeping the good times coming, to an institution that did things like post profits? The bank has said previously that PNBAC "will result in $8 billion in annual savings by 2015—$5 billion from the first phase and $3 billion from a second phase" and while it stands by those figures and remains committed to cutting as many employees as it takes, some people would like them to be a bit snappier about it. Bank of America is accelerating a broad cost-cutting plan and has set a target of shedding 16,000 jobs by year's end—cuts that would see the company relinquish its title as U.S. banking's largest employer. The proposed year-end total of 260,000 would be the lowest count since 2008 and likely give Bank of America a smaller workforce than JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, or Wells Fargo...Chief Executive Brian Moynihan is trying to speed the company's transformation into a smaller and more efficient operation as he tries to persuade investors that expenses can be adjusted to compensate for revenue lost to new regulations, an uneven economy and shaky markets. Since becoming CEO in 2010, he has shifted away from a nationwide expansion strategy embraced by his predecessors Hugh L. McColl Jr. and Kenneth D. Lewis, and shed many of the businesses that he considers to be nonessential...Hitting the new staffing target would fulfill a year early Mr. Moynihan's pledge to slash the bank's workforce by approximately 30,000. "If they want to make any headway toward improving profitability," said Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. senior banking analyst Todd Hagerman, "they need to accelerate the timeline." Bank Of America Ramps Up Job Cuts [WSJ]