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Faith-Based Shareholders Pushes Bank of America to Reverse Poor Governance Decision November 26th, 2014
The Missionary Oblates have joined other Faith-based investors in asking Bank of America to require the Chair of the Board to remain independent. BOA recently decided to give the title of Chairman to the Bank’s CEO, Brian Moynihan.
BOA’s action rolls back a bylaw change approved by shareholders in 2009 to separate the titles. Faith-based and other large institutional investors, including the California State Teacher’s Retirement System and the New York City Pension Funds, have called for a shareholder vote on the issue. Continuing fines and settlement payments involving the bank since the financial crisis have shareholders arguing for greater oversight of management by the Board. Giving the CEO the additional authority of Board Chair weakens the independence of the Board.
Fr Seamus Finn, OMI who is Board Chair of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, said the bank’s ongoing fines and settlements show that it needs “to take a serious look at the culture of the institution.” He said it would be better if the two roles were separated.
The Oblates have joined the New Jersey-based Sisters of Charity in co-filing a resolution on this issue, and other faith-based institutional investors plan to do the same. Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers has analysts predicting that the bank will put the issue on the ballot for a vote by shareholders.
ICCR and IAF Community Organizers Join Forces Against Foreclosures September 16th, 2011
Interfaith Center on Corporate responsibility (ICCR) members, including the Missionary Oblates, have been working with Metro Industrial Areas Foundation affiliates to get Bank of America & Wells Fargo to take action on foreclosure issues in Prince William County, VA and Milwaukee, WI. This collaboration has produced results:
- In Milwaukee, CommonGround, Metro IAF’s affiliate has organized successfully, forcing banks including Wells Fargo and Bank of America to commit $15.2 million to finance blight removal, a 100+ new Nehemiah homes development, and jobs in the Sherman Park neighborhood hard hit by foreclosure.
- In Prince William County, VA, Metro IAF’s affiliate, VOICE, organized and directly confronted Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan at the 2011 annual shareholders meeting. This resulted in Bank of America senior leadership requiring reform of loan modification practices that has resulted in 250 backlogged modifications being resolved. Bank executives also committed to negotiate on VOICE’s demands that Bank of America fund housing counselors and reinvest hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild Prince William County neighborhoods devastated by foreclosures.
VOICE is organizing a 1,000 person public action on Sunday, October 30th with Senator Mark Warner (Senate Banking Committee) and bank officials.
Watch this moving video of an anti-foreclosure rally organized by VOICE in Northern Virginia last April:
Representatives of the community organizing group, Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), attended the Bank of America Annual Meeting last Wednesday thanks to proxies from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment. The Rev. Clyde Ellis spoke in support of a shareholder proposal to asking for a third-party review of the bank’s troubled mortgage business.
“The mortgage modification process is broken,” said Rev Ellis. “I work with people every day [who are] hurting because they can’t get support from the broken modification process.”
Despite support from large pension funds, the proposal failed, but BOA CEO Brian Moynihan committed to have his top executives meet with WIN representatives about foreclosures in Prince William County, VA. The presence of demonstrators outside, and questions raised inside the meeting were instrumental in getting this promise of dialog.
Strong 39% Vote at Bank of America for Religious Shareholders’ Proxy Resolution Maintains Growing Pressure for More Derivatives Disclosure on Wall Street April 28th, 2010
Vote at BofA’s Annual Meeting Comes on Heels of 30 Percent Support at Citigroup on Same Resolution; More Disclosure Vital at BofA Given How Mishandling of CDOs Tripped Up BofA’s Merrill Lynch.
In the second major 2010 shareholder vote urging more derivatives disclosure, a much higher-than-expected 39 percent of Bank of America (BofA) shares were cast today in support of a resolution sponsored by faith-based institutional investors belonging to the 300-member Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). The BofA shareholder vote took place as Congress debates the fate of financial regulatory reform, including increased derivatives disclosure.
The Bank of America shareholder vote improves on a 30 percent support level for the same proxy resolution at Citigroup on April 20, 2010. The ICCR member-sponsored resolution gave Bank of America shareholders an opportunity, as it did at Citigroup, to express their concerns about the lack of transparency in the derivatives market that contributed significantly to the financial crisis.
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Bank of America is 2nd Major U.S. Financial Institution to Face Derivatives Proxy Vote By Shareholders April 26th, 2010
The verdict at BofA’s Wednesday Annual Meeting comes on the heels of a huge 30 percent support at Citigroup on the same Resolution. Of the four derivatives disclosure resolutions being filed, that with BofA may be the most telling, considering how the mishandling of Credit Default Swaps (a type of derivative) tripped up BofA’s Merrill Lynch.
With a much higher-than-expected 30 percent of Citigroup shares voted on April 20th in favor of more disclosure of derivatives practices, the focus now shifts to Bank of America (BofA), where shareholders will vote Wednesday (April 28th) on the same resolution sponsored by faith-based institutional investors belonging to the 300-member Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). The BofA vote will take place as Congress debates the fate of financial regulatory reform, including increased derivatives disclosure.
The resolution gives shareholders an opportunity, as they did at Citigroup, to express their concerns about the lack of transparency in the derivatives market that contributed significantly to the financial crisis. The higher-than-expected vote from Citigroup shareholders resulted even though the United States government, which controls 27 percent of Citigroup as a result of the bank bailouts, failed to fully support the resolution.
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