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HANDBILLERS DEFY B OF A THREATS, INFORM CUSTOMERS OF COMPETITORS' CREDIT CARD RATES, UFCW REPORTS

 HANDBILLERS DEFY B OF A THREATS, INFORM CUSTOMERS
 OF COMPETITORS' CREDIT CARD RATES, UFCW REPORTS
 SAN FRANCISCO, March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Food and Commercial Workers Union issued the following:
 Bank of America apparently failed to squelch a union's attempts to inform bank customers about B of A competitors offering lower credit card interest rates and annual fees, as handbillers descended last week on several dozen bank branches in Northern and Southern California with consumer information leaflets.
 Citing independent national surveys and its own inquiries of banks, the leaflet prepared by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) lists 43 nationally available credit cards with lower interest rates and annual fees than B of A's standard credit card. Two banks with higher rates and fees were also listed.
 "Securing good wages for union members is only part of a union's job," said Joseph T. Hansen, a UFCW vice president and director of its Northern California region. "Unions today must also educate their members and other workers on how to keep more of their wages. Not paying higher credit card interest and fees is one way to help workers make their paychecks stretch farther."
 The UFCW's leafletting actually began several weeks ago, Hansen explained, but was suspended when B of A attorneys threatened criminal and civil prosecution. "Without offering any explanation, B of A claimed the information was 'false.'"
 "The UFCW gave B of A an opportunity to correct any erroneous information," he added, "but B of A just repeated its threats rather than pointing out which, if any, of the information is incorrect. The right of free speech is too important to allow a rich and powerful bank to succeed in bullying us into silence."
 Hansen called "ridiculous to the point of absurdity" B of A's claim that giving consumers information about credit card rates and fees is designed to start a "run" on the bank by making the public believe the bank is in trouble.
 "Rather than suggesting B of A is in trouble, the leaflets simply explain how B of A makes loads of profit in unnecessarily high credit card interest rates and annual fees," Hansen noted. "No depositor is going to see these leaflets as a reason to pull his or her checking or savings accounts out of B of A."
 "Helping people understand that, if they shop around for a better deal, they can save some money on credit cards is in the public interest," Hansen concluded, "and we are confident that reasonable people will see through B of A's frivolous bluff-and- bluster tactics."
 -0- 3/23/92
 /NOTE: For additional information and copies of the leaflet and the exchange of letters between union and bank attorneys, call the contact below./
 /CONTACT: Joe Hansen of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, 916-782-2181/ CO: Bank of America; United Food and Commercial Workers Union ST: California IN: FIN SU:


TW -- DC021 -- 0541 03/23/92 11:37 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 23, 1992
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