A tale of two crises

This is a tale of two crises. One was handled flawlessly. The other was badly bungled.

The first dominated yesterday's PR news world and concerned the ill-advised attempt by Delta Airlines to charge returning Afghanistan veterans $200 for their extra bags. Ugh.

A social media savvy vet captured the unfortunate and oh-so-unnecessary airport confrontation between the vets and the “Sorry sir, but rules are rules” airline worker. He posted the video on YouTube and it spread faster than Anthony Weiner's nude pics.

In the blink of an eye, Delta suddenly had a 747-sized crisis on its hands. But, that's when the airline turned on the after burners, fastened the seat belts and weathered the increasingly bumpy ride. A Delta blogger, identified only as Rachael R (is Rachael Ray moonlighting?)  quickly posted an apology AND announced an immediate change in the airline's baggage policy for traveling U.S. military personnel. A simple, yet brilliant move. Crisis averted. Delta and the vets can move on. And, Rachael R. can get back to her cooking.

Now, compare Delta's response with the Bank of America's incredibly, ham-fisted mishandling of a Florida couple's mortgage payment.

Warren and Maureen Nyerges had purchased their foreclosed home outright.   However, while on a foreclosure frenzy, BofA decided the property’s foreclosure was still in force and past due.  So, the bank went on with their foreclosure on the hapless Nyerges. With no other recourse, they hired a savvy lawyer who turned the tables on the bank in a brilliant legal maneuver that would impress even the legendary Mike Lasky of Davis & Gilbert fame.

The couple's lawyer proved the home was free and clear and demanded the bank pay their $2,500 legal fees. BofA refused. So, get this, the lawyer got a court order to go to the local bank branch and take possession of their furniture. Ya gotta love it!

Sheriff deputies and a moving van showed up at the bank. But, the brain-dead BofA branch manager STILL wouldn't comply. It took a full hour before he finally gave Mr. & Mrs. Nyerges a check for $5,772.88 as restitution. This local news clip below is a MUST SEE and should be included in any crisis planning workshop.


Did BofA issue an explanation, an apology or announce a change in their foreclosure policy? Nope. There wasn't even a peep from the massive financial institution.

So, here's an idea. Since BofA has shown itself so inept at managing crisis communications, why not outsource the function to the Delta Airlines team? I'm sure the ailing airline could use the incremental income and Bank of America desperately needs competent PR counsel. Hey, maybe BofA can even convince Delta's Rachael R. to cook the Nyerges a special 'forgiveness meal.'

4 thoughts on “A tale of two crises

  1. That’s a great question, RepMan. I think that overall, the regional bankers, S&Ls and credit unions have behaved pretty responsibly during this mess, mainly by focusing on the fundamentals of their businesses.
    Perhaps today’s breed of regional bankers and S&Ls learned their lessons the hard way? I worked with the Resolution Trust Corporation during the savings & loan crisis of the early Nineties. The S&L people were anything but angels. Please don’t take offense, but I know you’re old enough to remember(Charles Keating, anyone?) what a big steaming pile they left for others to clean up.

  2. I knew we’d finally find something we agree on, PEngelinNYC. I’m curious, though. Would you include regional banks, savings & loan associations and credit unions in your condemnation of ‘bankers’?

  3. Bankers are often the laziest, greediest and most out-of-touch business people around. They still act like the S&L crisis never happened, much less the 2008 meltdown. I would rank bankers well above the Federal Government when it comes to cluelessness.
    Of course, the bigger problem is that those two groups have been working together way too much!

  4. To err is human, but admitting it then fixing it, well, that’s called “coming correct” in my parish. Bravo, Delta! BofA should try it, too, but I guess it takes more than a couple thousand dollars to rustle a banker’s feathers. To top their blunder, BofA even managed to misspell Nyerges’ name in their apology letter. Thank you, RepMan, for another entertaining post.