NPR recently had a human interest piece discussing a Bank of America program involving the donation of foreclosed homes to veterans. Clearly this is great for veterans receiving a home and good PR for Bank of America, but there are a number of things that NPR failed to discuss.
While Bank of America is planning on donating 2,500 homes to veterans, NPR never mentioned that more than 20,000 veterans were foreclosed on in 2010. Bank of America is essentially taking homes from some veterans and giving them to other veterans.
NPR also failed to mention that Bank of America illegally foreclosed on veterans and that these illegal foreclosures resulted in a lawsuit which Bank of America lost. As part of the settlement they get to lower the amount of money they owe by donating homes.
Obviously the idea of including a donation provision in the settlement is to get some of these people who were illegally foreclosed on back into a house, but institutions that handle mortgages already routinely donate homes for a variety of reasons. Typically they would do this for the tax break that donating the house affords them.
But thanks to this settlement they now get to donate a home to reduce what they owe for their illegal activity while simultaneously dumping a home they can’t sell.
Bank of America’s motivation here is not altruism, it’s profit and PR, and NPR took the bait.