For immediate release: May 1, 2012
Contact: Margot Friedman, New Bottom Line, at 202-332-5550 or email@example.com
Shareholders Locked Out of Wells Fargo Meeting and Run-Up to Bank of America Shareholders’ Meeting on May 9 Energize Bank Divestment Movement
(New York, NY) It’s the season for bank shareholders’ meetings and customers from coast to coast are marking the occasion by withdrawing their money from Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and other big banks and moving it to credit unions and smaller banks that make small business loans, help create jobs, and invest in local communities. Customers will be taking collective action to close their accounts in May’s “Move Our Money” Month, said leaders of The New Bottom Line, which assists organizations and individuals with divesting funds from Wall Street banks.
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.
Customer concerns increased after Wells Fargo locked shareholders out of its annual meeting on April 24 to avoid facing questions about the bank’s high foreclosure rate, tax avoidance, payday lending, and support for for-profit prisons and immigrant detention centers. If Wells Fargo is not responsive to its shareholders, customers are right to wonder if the bank will be responsive to them and 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 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, more than $60 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.