The Daily Drum by Will B. Drumming
James “Big Jim” Loveless loves his job. Big Jim is vice-president for property management services at Bank of America’s Northern California division. His responsibilities include managing the foreclosure and eviction of thousands of families in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“When we foreclose a home I like to get personally involved,” said Big Jim. “Most people think giant corporations are heartless. They’re not. Corporations are people too.”
Over the last three years, Big Jim has visited nearly 1,000 families in the Bay Area prior to their homes being foreclosed by Bank of America. It is highly unusual for senior bank executives to take a personal approach with families on the verge of eviction, and Big Jim’s actions have caused quite a stir in the banking industry.
“He’s a bleeding heart liberal,” said an anonymous bank executive in San Francisco.
Another anonymous bank executive, who is based in San Jose, said, “He’s ruining the bank’s reputation for cold, calculated analysis of homeowners in default. This is business. It isn’t personal.”
“I disagree,” said Big Jim. “I don’t want people who are evicted from their homes to be angry at Bank of America. If we can make friends with them – even when they’re being evicted – their children might grow up one day to be Bank of America customers. I’m reaching out to a new generation of consumers.”
On holidays, Big Jim dresses up in various costumes to visit families whose homes are in foreclosure. For Halloween this year, Big Jim dressed up as presidential candidate Mitt Romney, complete with a scary rubber mask, and handed out candy to children in over 100 homes that were in the final stages of foreclosure.
“It didn’t go as perfectly as I had hoped it would,” Big Jim said. “The little Milky Way candy bars were old and stale, and some of the kids threw them back at me. The younger kids thought I was a zombie and ran away before I could even give them the candy.”
On Thanksgiving, Big Jim is planning to dress up as a giant turkey. “I’m going to hand out free turkeys to families we are evicting,” he said. “Actually they’re not really turkeys. They’re large chickens. We got a deal on the chickens from a Petaluma farm in foreclosure. I would have bought turkeys, but the bank slashed my public relations budget this year due to a loss of customers. Over the last few months we’ve lost thousands of customers who have transferred their accounts to credit unions and community-based banks. It’s really sad. This year I’m not sure if I’ll be able to visit all of the families we are foreclosing during the Christmas season.”
Last Christmas, Big Jim dressed up like Santa Claus and visited 217 families on the verge of eviction. At one home, the family had already moved out before he arrived, leaving behind a decorated Christmas tree and a pile of unopened presents.
“I took the tree and the presents that the family had left behind,” Big Jim said. “No use wasting them. I handed them out to other kids whose homes we were foreclosing. They seemed pretty happy about it.”
[Editor's note: Mr. Loveless is currently unemployed. His home has been foreclosed by Chase Bank. He is homeless and living in a tent at Occupy Petaluma. You can reach him by email at BankofAmericaemail@example.com.]