Bank of America loses customers in flag controversy

In an attempt to not “offend” customers, a Bank of America branch in South Carolina has managed to drive some high-yield ones away.

A branch manager at a Gaffney location ordered the removal of several small American flags lining the funeral route of a fallen Marine. Lance Corporal Christopher Fowlkes, 20, was killed last week in an explosion in the Helmand province. When a private citizen attempted to place flags on the bank’s lawn to mark his funeral procession, the manager intervened and threatened to throw out the flags if they were not retrieved by the woman who placed them. (She is not a Bank of America employee.)

Local government has moved now to cease dealing with the branch:

Monday night, the Cherokee County Council voted 5 to 1 to withdraw county money from any accounts held by Bank of America.

Councilman Quay Little said that totals more than $500,000, but that number could skyrocket. If all county officials close their accounts, Bank of America would lose more than $1.5 million in customer funds, Little said.

Bank of America released a statement, but it appears the damage may already be done:

“We want to ensure the community knows how deeply proud we are of the men and women who have sacrificed so much in service to our country. The bank does fly the American Flag at our locations throughout the country and flags were displayed in front of our banking center in Gaffney the evening prior to our dedicated Marine returning home.”