After thousands of plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit against Bank of America reported that they had not received any portion of the $410 million in settlement amounts owed them by BoA, BoA president and CEO Brian Moynihan abashedly explained that he had forgotten the bank's Personal Identification Number.
As a result, Moynihan was unable to access the bank's monetary assets in order to make the promised settlement payments to injured customers.
"It's so stupid, I know," he said, his face almost as red as the Bank of America ATM card so familiar to BoA's millions of customers. "I have the card itself, but as you guys know, that obviously doesn't do us any good without the PIN."
He added, "I tried every number I could think of - my birthday, my mom's birthday, my personal lucky numbers. No go."
Moynihan noted that for the protection of BoA's customers and to prevent any unauthorized accessing of their BoA accounts, he'd never written down the PIN or transmitted it to anyone.
"We're big on privacy and security here at BoA. Some might even say a little paranoid. But identity theft is a real threat these days, and we're not taking any chances with something that important."
Clearly unsatisfied with Moynihan's rationalizations, a Wall Street Journal reporter asked Moynihan why BoA had failed to respond to, or even accept, any of the thousands of telephone calls it had received from injured customers and their attorneys.
The CEO gazed down at the ground. "Umm, yeah. See, the thing is, what with all this money we're paying out in this lawsuit, our administrative functions are a little backed up, and our automatic bill pay system is out of commission."
"What does that have to do with anything?" demanded Lou Morelli, an irate BOA customer who, over the course of eight years, was overcharged thousands of dollars for BoA debit card transactions.
"Well, see," Moynihan responded, "because of this temporary glitch in our automatic bill pay, our phone bill didn't end up getting paid and our phone service was temporary cut off. That's why we haven't been able to take anyone's calls. But I assure you, we will, once we get these past-due bills taken care of."
Moynihan added that he had submitted a request for a new PIN and was going to do his best to "pull some strings internally" with the aim of obtaining the new number sooner than the standard seven- to ten-day period.