Living with credit

Ann Minch declares debtors’ revolt; not all follow

Tyler Metzger

On Sept. 8, 2009, a Red Bluff, Calif., woman named Ann Minch started a one-woman revolt. She posted a video on YouTube of herself explaining that she would refuse to pay her Bank of America credit card balance until her newly raised 30 percent interest rate was slashed. She called her refusal the beginnings of a “debtors’ revolt.”

“You are evil, thieving bastards,” Minch said to some unnamed bankers in the video. “Every last one of you should be rotting in prison.” (See video below).

The video of the 46-year-old stepmother soon caught fire. The Consumerist, Huffington Post and MSN Money all linked to the video, which pushed it to reach more than 390,000 views as of Wednesday. The publicity sparked media requests from NBC, CBS and Fox News, and prompted responses from hundreds of YouTube users, too.

The publicity got Bank of America’s attention, and a representative agreed to take her interest rate back to the original 12.99 percent. However, after the conversation, she saw that her rate was only reduced to 23.74 percent, which Minch claims is still unacceptable. But that didn’t stop her from posting another video about her YouTube-inspired triumph, in which she tells people to keep hope alive.

“Just because my personal account situation has apparently been resolved, which is a small victory for this debtors’ revolt movement, we still have a war to fight,” she said.

Whether that war will actually be waged is unlikely. In a world where the Intertubes can make you someone and no one in one day’s news cycle, it’s likely Minch’s revolt will end without a bang. Banks will continue to raise rates, slash credit limits and close accounts, and people will live with it.

And that seems to be the attitude most people have on YouTube: You got yourself into this debt — so deal with it. One user asked why Minch racked up almost $6,000 in debt in the first place and then made only minimum payments to the account. Another pointed out that Minch admitted to not having a job and not owning any real assets or equity, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise when her rate jumped. Yet another user asked sarcastically if it is “morally wrong” to borrow money and not repay it.

Supporters of the revolt don’t have many answers, but they do have one unifying complaint: It’s just not fair. One video response, which I won’t link to due to graphic language, said he moved his account from BoA to a smaller bank, which was one of Minch’s suggestions, in hopes of sticking it to the man. Another user had a simpler solution: Pray with me that Jesus will fix all this. One video even suggested dressing up in robes, grabbing some garlic and crosses and killing the “vampire bankers.”

There are, of course, more legitimate avenues of reform. One, the most sweeping federal credit card reform law ever, was signed into law by President Obama in May 2009. The Federal Reserve proposed rules Tuesday that guide bankers in implementing it. The law, when it goes into effect in full next February, generally prohibits interest rate increases during the first year of an account being open. The legislation also will stop companies from increasing the interest rate on existing credit card balances, with some exceptions.

But maybe it’s not just interest rate jacks and credit reductions that got people in an uproar. Maybe people are just fed up with Big Brother telling them what they can or can’t have. To this extent I agree with the debtors’ revolt. After billions of dollars of our money was given to the banks, it is frustrating to see them turn around and punish us. But refusing to pay what you borrowed is childish and will only hurt your credit score. That in turn can damage your chances of getting a loan or even a job.

And I doubt in today’s economy, anyone can justify that.


Here’s Minch’s original “Debtors Revolt” video (Warning rough language, including one four-letter word):


See related: 11 tips for dealing with debt collectors, 8 things you must know about credit card debt, Confessions of a lousy debt collector

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  • Dennis M

    I can’t agree more with Minch. I have excellent credit and make a very good 3 figure income. I pay 4 times the minimum payment B of A ever requested. I made ONE late payment (my fault, I misplaced the bill) but it got paid just like always. Then I went on vacation for 4 weeks out of the country. When I got back, there was another bill and yes, it was late. I paid it and 1 week later, a letter came from B of A. They now consider me a default risk because I have 2 late payments in 12 months and hiked my interest from 10.25% to 22%. When I called, the lady didn’t care about my vacation or my long history of paying on tiem. She said “it’s all due to the new legislation.” What happened to B of A’s promise not to raise rates before the new legislation? I canceled the card and will pay off the balance, never to do business with B of A again. Like Minch stated, you are all a bunch of thieves and you should be rotting in prison. B of A does not care about their customers, only how much money they can take of everyone. After taking billions of my tax dollars for a so called bail out, they still want to screw over the customer and take every penny they can get. Billions of tax dollars, billions in profits. Talk about a fraud scam, B of A has it down to a T. And as for the billions in bail out money, why aren’t you using it to help the economy instead of lining your own pockets?

  • James P

    There is only one way to fix BofA, JPMorgan Chase, Wells and the rest of the Bailout Theives…..
    A good old fashioned bank run.
    Take all of your availble funds out of these banks for the next week, AND TELL THEM WHY. Find a local bank or credit union.
    This should just about kill off the these den of thieves, since these deposits are doing little more than propping up their meager loan loss reserves.
    Just today, BofA just slashed my four credit line accounts to virtually nothing for me to run my business on. I pay way beyond minimum balances and have not missed a payment in years! Not to mention that I was right in the middle of a refi on one of my properites….this just ruined my credit score.
    I didnt even really want to do business with BofA as a cardholder, but two of these accounts were once with MBNA and one was with Fleet Bank. With the lovely and unregulated mergers of these three, I ended up being a mostly BofA cardholder. Some good that did.
    BofA received $45 billion of OUR BORROWED MONEY, mind you, and this B.S. bailout was sold to us on the explicit premise (lie) of keeping businesses and consumers afloat. Bull**it!!!!

  • jay

    Look I’ve had problems with credit card companies in the past. So by no means do I think they are always right but, this needs to be said we need to start taking responsibility for why the banks are doing this. when you sign up for a credit card you sign a contract or agree to the banks terms so if you break those terms you can’t complain if they raise your rate or give you fees. Ms Minch said herself in her follow up video that she was informed that she was late twice within a years time and by the banks terms they have the right to raise her rate. The real problem here is we as credit card holders need to read these terms and have to be responsible when we break the rules because guess what we used the banks money. Look I know people will say I work for the bank or I’m making excuses, neither is true like I said before I’ve had my problems with the bank and they do make mistakes and can be rude but that is their right because its their money I borrowed, key word borrowed. So if you want to really revolt start by making sure you know about how credit cards work read the terms before you take the money.

  • Pat Swiss

    If you borrow pay it. If the rate goes up ask nicely to get it reduce. If nothing works, file bankruptcy or pay it off with your own money by making monthly payment that fits your budget having the credit cards closed. You will not be able to use credit again.
    Don’t blame the bank, look at yourself. Credit card companies are not associated with the branches, they merely use the name of Chase, B of A, Wells, for marketing purpose and the bankers are powerless when it come to negotiage your rate. Credit card companies have their own rules in their own private islands.