Ian Pajer-Rogers

Buffalo, NY Divests $45 Million In City Funds From JP Morgan Chase - Huffington Post, May 31, 2012

From Huffington Post :


JPMorgan’s $2 billion trading loss was bound to have big consequences but few could have guessed the fallout would reach all the way to the Buffalo Sewer Authority.

City Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder has agreed to transfer $45 million worth of Sewer Authority funds from a JPMorgan Chase account to local bank First Niagara Financial Group after Occupy Buffalo raised concerns about leaving the money at JPMorgan, the  Buffalo News  reports. The move comes with a number of benefits, including a higher interest rate and more local branches that make it easier for employees to cash paychecks (h/t ThinkProgress).

“It also sends a crystal-clear message to JPMorgan Chase that the City of Buffalo is not happy with their business practices," Schroeder told  Buffalo News .

The city's decision to transfer its money comes just weeks after JPMorgan's $2 billion trading loss, which caused significant damage to the bank's reputation. It's also a victory for Occupy Buffalo, which has been demonstrating against JPMorgan for months. The group organized a protest in front of a JPMorgan branch back in October advocating customers withdraw their money from the nation’s biggest banks.

The Occupy movement has had success in getting other cities to loosen their affiliations with big banks. Both Los Angeles and Kansas City have approved measures that deter officials from doing business with banks that have been accused of predatory lending.

Meanwhile, Occupy Austin convinced its City Council in March to come up with recommendations for divesting city funds from Bank of America, YNN reports.

In addition, Bank Transfer Day, a social media push affiliated with the Occupy movement, saw account holders throughout the country pull their funds from banks and open accounts with credit unions late last year.

Churches too have taken a unified approach to pulling funds from the nation’s biggest banks. A record number of church foreclosures last year, in part, has promptedcongregations across the country to withdraw funds, including 25 churches that took out $16 million from Wells Fargo, JPMorgan and others,  The New York Times  reported in March. In addition, a priest in San Jose pulled $3 million from BofA to protest foreclosure practices last November,  Bay Citizen  reports.

Buffalo Sides With Homeowners, Divests $45 Million from JP Morgan Chase


What an end to Move Our Money Month! 

On May 31st, the city of Buffalo announced that it would move the entirety of city funds, some $45 million dollars, to the local First Niagra Bank. 

The legislation was successfully initiated in the City Council by  New York Communities for Change and Occupy Buffalo  to convince the city leadership to side with homeowners and end its relationship with JP Morgan Chase. 

Check out additional coverage from New York Communities for Change , below. 

Ian Pajer-Rogers published Make Big Banks Pay 2012-06-07 14:19:20 -0400

Ian Pajer-Rogers published Watch the Video 2012-05-15 14:15:53 -0400

Watch the Video

We all have our reasons for moving our money. Some of us have faced illegal foreclosures or have seen our friends and family lose their homes. Some of us are angry about big banks' massive influence in our democracy, except when it comes to paying their fair share of taxes. Some of us are angry about big bank investments in private prisons, predatory payday lenders, and mountain-top removal of coal. 

Regardless of which issue riles us the most, ALL of the issues come back to one problem: Wall Street banks are hurting our communities and ruining our country. 

Watch this short film from The New Bottom Line and help spread the word about the big banks' big secret: Government isn't the problem. Government is the prize: 

Read the Video Transcript

Video Credits:  Created by  Ryan Senser;  Design & Animation : Daniel Perez ( www.unpixel.com );  Voice : Chanelle Benz Sound;  Recording : Ethan Hein

Los Angeles, New York City Councils to Pass Responsible Banking Ordinances - May 14, 2012

Media Advisory for May 15, 2012
Contact: Margot Friedman, New Bottom Line, at 202-332-5550 or mfriedman@dupontcirclecommunications.com
http://www.newbottomline.com/move_our_money                         twitter: @NBLcampaign
http://www.moveourmoneyusa.org/                                                             @moveourmoney

Los Angeles, New York City Councils to Pass Responsible Banking Ordinances

Momentum Builds from Coast to Coast to Leverage Taxpayer Dollars to Hold Banks More Accountable During New Bottom Line’s “Move Our Money” Month  

New Bottom Line Co-Director Ilana Berger Available to Provide Overview of Nationwide Trend, Make Connections to Local Groups Working on Ordinances

(New York, NY) On Tuesday, the nation’s two largest cities, Los Angeles and New York City, are expected to pass Responsible Banking Ordinances to collect better data on banks’ community reinvestment activities and encourage institutions that want to do business with the cities to be more accountable to local concerns. LA Mayor Villaraigosa is expected to sign the ordinance, making Los Angles a national leader in bank accountability.

Similar ordinances are being considered in Oakland, CA; Seattle, WA; Boston, MA; Austin, TX; and Portland, OR. In March, homeowners facing foreclosure persuaded the City of Brockton, MA to move its money out of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and other big banks that refuse to negotiate loan modifications. In February, the Kansas City, MO City Council passed a resolution directing the city manager to select banks that are responsive to the community’s needs and do not engage in predatory lending.

“Nationwide, citizens are looking for ways to hold the banks more accountable and demanding that their tax dollars are placed with institutions that help rather than hurt them. Cities are huge customers of banking services. It makes no sense to reward big banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase that tanked the economy, continue to foreclose on millions of families, and aren’t helping to rebuild neighborhoods,” said Ilana Berger, Co-Director of The New Bottom Line .

The Los Angeles ordinance will gather data on banks’ participation in foreclosure prevention and home loan principal reduction programs, as well as other community reinvestment information. The New York City ordinance would require banks to provide information on reinvestment activities, including foreclosure and loan modification information, that would be used to evaluate the banks that want to hold city deposits.  

The Los Angeles and New York City Councils take this action during “Move Our Money Month,” sponsored by The New Bottom Line, which assists organizations and individuals with divesting funds from Wall Street banks and opening accounts at smaller institutions and credit unions that support local communities.  

The Move Our Money Website gives customers tools for moving their money, organizing actions at banks, and reporting back the amount of money moved. To date, almost $80 million has been moved since the Move Our Money campaign launched in November, 2011. This video Why It's Time for The New Bottom Line explains how the big banks have consolidated (from 37 banks 20 years ago to just four today, controlling $7.7 trillion) to sap families and communities of resources and how everyday people are working to create a new economy that works for all of us.


The New Bottom Line is a growing movement fueled by a coalition of community organizations, congregations, and individuals working together to challenge established big bank interests on behalf of struggling and middle-class communities. Together, we are working to restructure Wall Street to help American families build wealth, close the country’s growing income gap and advance a vision for how our economy can better serve the many rather than the few. Coalition members include PICO National Network, National People’s Action (NPA), Alliance for a Just Society, the Right the City Alliance, and dozens of state and local organizations from around the country.


In Photos: Hundreds Take Action to Divest from Wells Fargo in Minnesota


Right now, hundreds of people have taken to the streets in Minneapolis in support of over one thousand members of the Latino and Somali communities in the city who have pledged to divest from Wells Fargo and US Bank. After hundreds closed their accounts, the demonstrators occupied a major intersection near the banks. 

Video From Inside Bank of America Shareholder Meeting and a Timeline of the Action

On Wednesday May 9th, hundreds of people from a broad coalition of workers, seniors, families fighting foreclosure, students, the unemployed, environmentalists, and more converged in Charlotte - the Wall Street of the South - to protest Bank of America’s annual shareholder meeting.

Inside and outside the meeting, the 99% made their presence known. Take a look as we 'mic checked' Bank of America CEO, Brian Moynihan:

Move Your Money: Faith Leaders, Activists To Target Wall Street Banks Throughout Month Of May - ThinkProgress, May 2, 2012

By  Travis Waldron

Activists from the 99 Percent Movement took to the streets across America to  mark May Day  on Tuesday, but their campaign against Wall Street is just beginning. In the month of May, activist groups and religious leaders will again turn their focus to urging customers to move their money from Wall Street banks.

Last week, religious leaders and activists  targeted Wells Fargo’s annual meeting , where they protested the bank’s predatory and often discriminatory practices and its lack of accountability for its role in the financial crisis that crippled the American economy. Next week, protesters will target Bank of America’s annual meeting, attempting to call attention to the same problems. Throughout the month, a diverse group of activists will push customers to move their money from Wall Street to community banks and credit unions, according to a press release from New Bottom Line, an organizing group that has dubbed May “Move Our Money Month”:

On May 9, thousands of people associated with the 99% Power Movement — families facing foreclosure, clergy, students, seniors, environmentalists, and others — will descend on Bank of America’s shareholder meeting in Charlotte, NC to urge the bank to keep families in their homes, pay its fair share of taxes, and stop choking democracy through massive campaign contributions.  If Bank of America does not enact new policies that are more responsive to the communities it serves, large numbers of customers are expected to close their accounts . [...]

The 99 percent are making their voices heard by moving their money out of the big banks that wrecked the economy and are doing nothing to fix it . This spring, there will be more people attending bank shareholders meetings than at any point in history and we will see more people severing their relationships with the big banks in favor of smaller institutions that are responsive to community concerns,” said Ilana Berger, Co-Director of The New Bottom Line.

The 99 Percent Movement has successfully targeted Wall Street banks with “Move Your Money” campaigns since last fall, when  hundreds of thousands  of people switched from large banks to credit unions in October and  40,000 more  joined on a single day — known as “Bank Transfer Day” — in early November. Churches and faith leaders  joined the cause , targeting banks for dodging taxes and unfair mortgage practices. Churches  moved $55 million  from Wall Street before Thanksgiving, and San Francisco faith leaders moved another  $10 million from Wells Fargo  in February.

Such campaigns are expected to have profound impacts on Wall Street’s bottom lines. A Wall Street consulting firm reported in November that the nation’s 10 largest banks could  lose as much as $185 billion  in deposits over the next year thanks to customer defections, and Bank of America — the activists’ next target — is the most vulnerable among them. According to the report, it could lose 10 percent of its customers and $42 billion by the end of 2012.

From ThinkProgress

Protesters Picket Main Street Bank of America - Middletown Patch, April 29, 2012

Editor  Cassandra Day

A coalition of  Wesleyan University  students and local activists affiliated with the Occupy movement marched on the Main Street branch of  Bank of America  Saturday, some closing their accounts and cancelling credit cards, in protest of what they call the bank’s environmentally and economically destructive policies.

This is part of a larger “Move Your Money” campaign on Wesleyan’s campus, encouraging students to withdraw their funds from big corporate banks and invest them with local community credit unions.

Students started their march from the steps of the university library, descending on the bank from campus while chanting and holding signs criticizing the bank for allegedly foreclosing on thousands of homes, funding the coal industry and conducting predatory lending practices.

Activists taped the entry to the bank with yellow caution tape and posted foreclosure notices on the doors and windows. Those attempting to close their accounts were initially refused entry and told by bank representatives to leave the property.

A statement was read condemning the bank’s funding of mountaintop removal and “careless gambling of the health of the global economy” before students marched back to campus where representatives from local credit unions were present to help students open new accounts.

Wesleying, the student-run campus blog, offers photos  here .

From the Middletown Patch

Protests Target Wells Fargo’s Shareholders Meeting - Care2, April 27, 2012


In HBO’s movie “Too Big to Fail,” about the inner workings behind the bank bailout, based upon the Andrew Ross Sorkin book, Wells Fargo is portrayed as not wanting to take the money but handcuffed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Out in the real world, though, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf snuck into the back door of the shareholder’s meeting and refused entry to shareholders demanding answers. The huge bank funds payday loan companies, invests in private prisons and paid no taxes from 2008-2010.

Activist groups claim between 1,500 and 2,000 people rallied outside the big bank’s annual shareholders meeting. Another 150 owned shares of the company but their attempts to take part in the meeting were denied by Wells Fargo, a move that New Bottom Line says shows Wells Fargo’s true colors. In Joshua Holland’s piece on the events from Tuesday, he  writes :

Organizers said that some shareholders – not affiliated with the protests – continued to be let in, a move organizers said was illegal.

Video from the event:

New Bottom Line wants people to use May as a “Move Our Money Month” to divest the 99 percent of Wells Fargo. If everyday people continued pulling their money out of big banks like Wells Fargo, opening up accounts at locally owned credit unions, it would result in weakening their grasp on power.

As part of the larger 99% Power, the activists want their demands heard. Much like the events in Detroit, Minneapolis, Houston and elsewhere, you can expect similar activities in the coming weeks. Organizations participating also want people to know they do not necessarily need to take to the streets to make a difference. You can let these large corporations know your displeasure with your checkbooks — don’t give them your money.

Even with the massive rally outside, shareholders awarded Stumpf with another raise, making his total compensation close to $20 million.

“It’s been a very good year for Wells Fargo,” said Stumpf. Obviously!

Meanwhile, Ana Casa Wilson struggles to modify her home mortgage with Wells Fargo writing in an email:

I was born with cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair for mobility. In 2009, I was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. After my breast cancer diagnosis, my husband James had to take time off of work to care for me. We decided to ask Wells Fargo for a loan modification on the home I grew up and have lived for over thirty years to help ease the burden of losing a paycheck.

Wells Fargo denied my request for a loan modification and decided to foreclose on us. Even though my husband is back to work and we are able to make our full payments, the bank won’t budge.

She is not alone. Others face the similar problems from the banking industry. She is also backed by people from around the country.

From Care2

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