Bank of America has instilled a new eCommunications Disclosure Agreement for those who do online banking with them. When you logon to the system, you are given one opportunity to reject this agreement, and if you do, your online banking privileges are suspended.
Although this agreement may only be intended for online banking, we need to look closely at certain sections of this new agreement, because they may in fact, be removing some of your rights as a borrower if you have a home loan and mortgage through Bank of America.
(1) Your Legal Rights
Certain laws require us to provide specific information to you in writing, which means you have a right to receive that information on paper. We may provide such information to you electronically if we first present this eCommunications Disclosure and obtain your consent to receive it electronically. Your consent will also apply to any other person named on your account, product or service, subject to applicable law. Since Online Banking and Merrill Lynch brokerage websites include some of this information, you must consent to this eCommunications Disclosure in order to use these services. At times, we may still present you with paper disclosures, but as a basic proposition we need to know that you are willing to receive disclosures and other information electronically that otherwise must be provided on paper and that you have the hardware and software needed for access to this information (and note that in Section No. 3 below, we explain ways to obtain selected disclosures or other information on paper even after you have consented to this eCommunications Disclosure).
When you read this section, it opens the possibility that Bank of America may only have to provide electronic acknowledgement of titles, notes, forms, etc… that you may request in paper (original note) in court. There is a possibility that by accepting this new agreement, you may be forfeiting you rights to an actual ‘original’ signed document.
(2) Types of Electronic Communications You Will Receive
You understand and agree that Bank of America may provide to you in electronic format only, by posting the information on the website where you access your account, product or service, such as Online Banking or Merrill Lynch brokerage websites, or through e-mail (if applicable and if you have provided a valid e-mail address) agreements, disclosures, notices, and other information and communications regarding your accounts, services and products, the use of any Online Banking, Merrill Lynch brokerage websites or our other web services, your relationship with us, and/or other programs, products or services that are or may be in the future made available to you (“Communications”). Such Communications may include, but are not limited to:
Once again, there is inference that you are waiving your rights in court to an original document, and by acceptance of the agreement will allow electronic agreements in lieu of paper.
(6) How to Withdraw Your Consent to this eCommunications Disclosure
Subject to applicable law, you may withdraw your consent to this eCommunications Disclosure by calling the appropriate toll-free customer service phone numbers. For Online Banking the customer service phone numbers are available through the Customer Service Page. For other Bank of America websites, please access the “Contact Us” link to find the appropriate phone numbers. You will not be charged a fee for withdrawal of your consent.
For Online Banking, if you withdraw your consent, we may stop providing you with Communications electronically and we may terminate your Online Banking access. Your withdrawal of consent is effective only after you have communicated your withdrawal to Bank of America by calling the appropriate customer service phone numbers and Bank of America has had a reasonable period of time to act upon your withdrawal. Your consent shall remain in force until withdrawn in the manner provided in this section.
Merrill Lynch currently maintains separate consent withdrawal processes. For online Merrill Lynch clients who wish to withdraw their consent to the eCommunications Disclosure for their Merrill Lynch products and services, please contact 1800 MERRILL for assistance.
Remember that you can always set your Communications preferences as described in Section 3 above without withdrawing your consent to this eCommunications Disclosure.
Consent Coverage; Certain Notices From You Are Not Covered. Applicable law or contracts sometimes require you to give us “written” notices. You must still provide these notices to us on paper. Your consent here does not relate to those notices.
As noted in section 6 here of the disclosure, if you refuse or withdraw your consent to accept this disclosure agreement, Bank of America may terminate your ability to use online banking in every capacity.
This is why it is so vital to always read every agreement online you may electronically ‘sign’, because in the legalese of those agreements, there is the strong possibility that you can unknowingly give up some of your rights, and some of your protections.
It is unknown at this time whether signing this agreement will constitute your acceptance of Bank of America only being required to provide an electronic notice in court in lieu of an original signed document when they are pursuing foreclosure of a property, but with the recent news and information of foreclosure moratoriums due to incorrect paperwork, and the possibility that Bank of America may have to re-purchase up to $47 billion dollars in bundled RBMS’s, it is important that you understand this agreement is you do business with Bank of America, and ensure that all of your rights are protected.