lucius_gantt_1.jpgWho is, or should be, known as the greatest robber? Is it Robin Hood or Ali Baba? Or could it be Bonnie and Clyde, or Jesse and Frank James? Maybe you’d say it was John Dillinger or Baby Face Nelson.

I say the greatest bank robbers are United States bankers themselves.

American banks, with the help and assistance of their co-conspiring politicians, have robbed more citizens and bank depositors than the legendary bank robbers could ever dream of.

I know you don’t like for me to write about your beloved beast bankers like this but the facts speak louder than any opinion column.

After getting Washington politicians to give them billions in stimulus money to pay bank officials million-dollar bonuses, senators, members of Congress and the president have sat back and allowed banks to refuse to lend money to individuals and small businesses.

Worst than that, politicians have allowed banks to change the game, banking agreements and banking terms any time they want to steal money from depositors’ accounts to pad their pockets.

Don’t believe me? Ok. Believe this: Banks are constantly exploring ways to generate revenue that could translate to higher costs for consumers. Among the possibilities are new fees for automatic deductions from checking accounts that pay utility and cable bills, according to people involved in the discussions. SunTrust Banks, a major lender in the Southeast, is already charging a $5 monthly fee to its “everyday checking” customers who use a debit card for purchases or recurring charges. And, this fall, Wells Fargo plans to test a $3 monthly usage fee for new debit card customers in five states, on top of its normal service charges, which are $5 to $30 a month.

Previously, other big lenders, including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and PNC Financial, canceled rewards programs and altered checking account service charges to blunt the effect of rules curbing overdraft and debit card swipe fees.

You tell me. How is it legal or fair for banks to charge enormous service charges when they provide zero services?

Let me explain.  If you are in the hospital, in Afghanistan or in some other way unable to use your account, how can banks be allowed to take money from your account when there is no activity at all on the account? "No fee checking" is a devilish lie.

If you have multiple bank accounts, politicians allow banks to arbitrarily take money from one account to pay service charges on other accounts.

If a bank sees no activity in a checking account, why can’t the bank just transfer funds into a savings account?

That’s too easy and

doesn’t give the bank a chance to “steal.”

Seems like every month depositors get a notice from banks that say even though they agreed to one set of banking terms, the banks have changed the terms so the banks can charge you, the depositor, more.

If President Barack Obama loses his re-election bid, one of the reasons will surely be based on how he has coddled some of his biggest campaign contributors, the bankers.

Even if politicians can’t easily stop banks from “robbing” bank depositors, at least they can say it is wrong for banks to commit highway robbery on Wall Street, Main Street and on your street.

Let’s see. What can blacks do to change the situation? Blacks can demand that black churches and black business designate one day when all African Americans withdraw their money from all banks.

A one-day run on bank money by loyal bank depositors will shut down most banks. Such a shutdown should have been done when banks tried to steal mortgage money using phony mortgage documents and robo-signers pretending to be bank presidents.

One day a political candidate will stand up and join the people’s fight against economic exploitation by wicked bankers.

Lucius Gantt is a consultant based in Tallahassee and author of the book  Beast Too: Dead Man Writing. He may be reached at

Photo: Lucius Gantt