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Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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Latest Huffington Blogpost: The Media and the Dynamic Duo June 19th, 2012

Read the latest Huffington blogpost by Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI who writes scathingly about recent encounters with the CEOs of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase at their Annual General meetings.

Read the blog…

 

 

 


Explore Tax Justice in the Movie “We’re Not Broke” June 14th, 2012

The FACT Coalition (a campaign of the Tax justice Network USA) in raising questions about the real causes of the financial crisis. According to the movie We’re Not Broke, “conservative pundits and politicians continue to push a false narrative. America hasn’t gone broke, we’ve been robbed. Corporations have spent years dodging their responsibilities and not paying their fair share.”

Locate a screening of the film We’re Not Broke accompanied by an in-depth discussion of the real cause of our financial crisis on the website of The Fair Share Tour.

 


Missionary Oblates in Solidarity with Homeowners Facing Foreclosures June 14th, 2012

The Missionary Oblates have been working in solidarity with homeowners in Prince William County VA on the mortgage foreclosure issue. On June 3rd Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) gathered more than 400 people at the First Baptist Church in Manassas to negotiate commitments on foreclosures and community restoration from GE, Bank of America and Chase. The Oblates and other members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility were instrumental in advancing their agenda. Fr. Séamus P. Finn OMI addressed the assembly.

Watch the video:

At the June 3rd action, GE Capital’s General Counsel represented GE CEO Jeffry Immelt, with whom VOICE had met on May 14th. These meetings came about as a result of coordinated action by the interfaith advocacy organization and religious shareholders who gave the group leverage with the company.

The company committed to negotiate with VOICE on their $300-$500 million Reinvestment agenda and restated Mr. Immelt’s commitment to meet with VOICE again in August/early September.

According to VOICE organizers, “All this would not have been possible without the steadfast support of ICCR”. Father Seamus Finn, OMI pledged ICCR’s continuing support for VOICE’s $300-$500 million reinvestment campaign.

Top executives from Bank of America & JP Morgan also came to the June 3rd action. They committed to implementation accountability on the National Mortgage Settlement in a local place, Prince William County – the first time this is known to have been done in the country. They committed to:

  • $60 Million in principal write down in PWCO
  • 1,000 Loan Modifications in PWCO
  • Negotiate and Sign Reinvestment Deal ($300-$500 Million VOICE proposal) at VOICE October 2012 Action during the heat of the elections.

Learn more about this unique and powerful campaign to help people crushed by the mortgage crisis. Read William Greider’s article in the Nation (published April 27, 2012): http://www.thenation.com/blog/167625/predator-ge-we-bring-bad-things-life

 

 


Tell Congress: End Too-Big-To-Fail. Make Banking SAFE May 17th, 2012

The top five banks now control 52 percent of the financial industry’s assets; they had 17 percent in 1970. The six largest banks control assets equal to 62 percent of the nation’s gross national product. They may be not only too big to fail, but also too big to save.

The biggest of them, Dimon’s JPMorgan Chase, has $2.1 trillion in assets and more than 239,000 employees. The bank’s recent bad bet that now amounts to $3 trillion, is a clear indication of the need for serious reform.

Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Keith Ellison have introduced a measure to cut too-big-to-fail banks down to size. The SAFE (Safe, Accountable, Fair and Efficient) Banking Act would put in place an important element missing from the financial reform legislation of two years ago: a cap on how big banks can get. The bank lobby defeated all efforts to include a limit on their size.

Now the six largest banks – led by JPMorgan Chase – are collectively larger and more concentrated than they were before they blew up the economy, with the assets they control growing from $6.1 trillion before the collapse to more than $8.5 trillion today, according to Federal Reserve data.

Wall Street lobbyists have successfully delayed and diluted regulations that were supposed to flow from the Wall Street reform bill. And the big banks have ways to push their way around any barriers.

We need a fail-safe. If a bank can’t be too big, then it can’t be too big to fail.

Among the provisions of the Safe Banking Act are that no bank could hold more than 10 percent of all of the insured bank deposits in the country, nor could a bank holding company have non-deposit liabilities greater than 2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

By the standards in the SAFE Banking Act, four existing banks are currently above the size cap—JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo—and would have to shrink. This would be a major step in making banking sober—and boring, as it should be—once again.

Click here to tell Congress: Break up the big banks! Pass Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Keith Ellison’s SAFE Banking Act. 

Thanks to the Campaign for America’s Future for the information on this bill. 


Oblate Questions JP Morgan/Chase CEO Jaime Dimon May 16th, 2012

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI representing the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at the JP Morgan/Chase AGM yesterday in Naples, Florida, made pointed comments about the latest heavy losses at the company. He questioned Dimon’s opposition to the Volcker Rule and the bank’s lobbying in opposition to other aspects of the financial regulations being developed at the SEC in response to the Dodd-Frank legislation.

He was quoted today by Maureen Dowd in her NY Times column:

The Rev. Seamus Finn, representing shareholders from the Catholic organization Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, did gently press the boss: “We’re wondering, Mr. Dimon, given what we’ve learned, do you still believe a company can self-regulate when trading on their own accounts?” He added: “Furthermore, should our company really be spending shareholder funds on, some $7 million last year alone, on lobbying efforts to thwart the Dodd-Frank legislation and the work of regulators to write the rules stemming from that legislation?”
 
The priest concluded that the shareholders, “weary of mistakes” and pledges to reform, wonder if Dimon is listening.

Fr. Finn was also quoted in The Guardian, on CNBC.com, The Telegraph, Crain’s New York Business, and the timesfreepress.com


Banks Targeted in Divestment Campaign and by Faith-Based Shareholder Activism April 29th, 2012

Churches and faith-based shareholders alike have been taking action against big banks that have failed to respond to the plight of homeowners and others seriously affected by the financial crisis. The Missionary Oblates have been actively engaging the big banks and financial institutions in an effort to deal with some of the underlying problems that have caused so much pain to so many.

Recently, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) facilitated the participation of VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement) in the Detroit AGM of GE Capital. VOICE is a faith-based community organization representing people who have lost their homes or whose houses are threatened by the on-going foreclosure crisis. GE Capital holds some of these mortgages and has been resistant to negotiation of the mortgage terms.

A recent article in Catholic News Service looks at the growing divestment campaign and some of the other activities of church groups vis a vis the big banks.

See our related post on the demonstrations outside the recent Well Fargo AGM in San Francisco.

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