Many years ago a friend told me that it was foolish to obsess about which political party was in power, because “Wall Street runs this Country.” Unfortunately, that was not quite accurate, the war in Iraq being a case in point.
But it may not be wholly incorrect either. The L.A. Times reports today the they have initiated a program to allow immigration who do not have social security numbers (i.e., the undocumented) to apply for credit cards:
The credit cards are not aimed specifically at illegal immigrants, a bank spokeswoman said, but instead people who lack solid credit histories.
Bank of America is following other major banks, including Wells Fargo & Co. and Citibank, who have launched similar initiatives to gain customers in the burgeoning Latino community:
Wells Fargo began a pilot program last year in Los Angles and Orange counties to offer home mortgages to immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least two years. The customers are allowed to identify themselves using taxpayer numbers issued by the Internal Revenue Service instead of Social Security numbers. That’s the same type of identification number an immigrant can use to obtain a credit card under Bank of America’s pilot program.
What is clear from this move is that the banking industry sees the Latino community as potential customers and people who should be integrated into the financial mainstream of American society, regardless of their status as residents of the U.S. The question is, can the rest of the nation follow their lead?