by Aaron Krager
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.