Occupy Charlottesville: Bank of America boosts security, divestment planned


This week, the Downtown Mall Bank of America branch has looked a little different. A guard from G4S security, a firm with a history of contracted work with Bank of America, has stood regularly near the bank’s entrance during business hours. Today, a guard told C-VILLE that the Downtown branch is not alone; BoA branches near UVA and Barracks Road also have G4S personnel, who have traveled by bus from Richmond to monitor the banks this week due to the proliferation of Occupy movements.

Multiple Occupy movements have focused their attentions on Bank of America after the bank recently announced plans to implement a five dollar monthly fee for debit card use. Locally, Virginia Organizing—which had planned events to encourage divestment from banks including BoA, Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan Chase—bumped its action up. Today at 1:30pm, several area residents will close checking accounts at Wells Fargo, according to VO’s Julie Blust.

“We have a few people who have checking accounts they’re closing. We have a woman who is going to close her IRA," said Blust. “We have a lot more people with Bank of America especially angry due to the new fees.” Blust said VO encourages people to look to smaller, community-based banks with credit unions—which may be good business news for the UVA Community Credit Union.

Virginia Organizing plans to assemble at Central Place, near the Downtown Wells Fargo branch. The G4S security officer said personnel pwants simply to ensure the safety of those within the vicinity of the bank.