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Fr. Seamus Finn Comments on Wells Fargo’s Business Standards December 12th, 2016
ICCR members continue to press Wells Fargo on addressing ethical dimensions of their vision and values statement and strengthening a culture that prioritizes true customer service and the common good as priorities.
Sr Nora Nash OSF and Fr Séamus Finn OMI speak to Business Ethics on what Wells Fargo needs to do. http://business-ethics.com/2016/12/10/where-wells-fargo-goes-from-here/
Wells Fargo, a major US bank targeted by faith-based investors for their harmful pay day lending practices, announced today that they would discontinue their Direct Deposit Advance service. This is a huge victory on behalf of those who have fallen prey to this predatory lending.
In a Shareholder Resolution with Wells Fargo, which the Oblates co-filed in 2012 and 2013, and in dialogs with company officials, ICCR members raised serious concerns about these loans, their impact on people, and the risks to the bank by engaging in such practices.
ICCR issued a press release on the bank’s decision:
After a long-term engagement with Wells Fargo to promote more responsible lending products, today members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) wish to commend management for making the right decision in ending its Direct Deposit Advance program. The company issued a statementtoday announcing that it would discontinue the product effective February 1st.
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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.
Angry Homeowners, Community Groups Protested at Wells Fargo AGM April 29th, 2012
Thousands of angry homeowners, immigrants, union members, Occupiers and community groups converged on the annual shareholders meeting of Wells Fargo Bank. In a carefully choreographed protest, simultaneous marches left Justin Herman Plaza on the city’s waterfront, site of the Occupy San Francisco encampment last fall. Demonstrators walked up parallel streets into the financial district, where they encircled the block in which the meeting was set to take place, in the Julia Morgan ballroom of the Merchant’s Exchange Building.
A group of religious, union and community representatives had purchased shares of stock in the bank beforehand, supposedly allowing them to attend the shareholders meeting. Some even held proxies, allowing them to vote the stock belonging to others. As the rally swirled outside, and speeches and songs filled the streets now vacant of their normal traffic, the police closed off the building and refused to let the shareholders inside:
Wells Fargo blocked over a hundred legitimate shareholders from entering the meeting, saying that the room had reached maximum capacity. About 20 shareholders inside took turns interrupting the CEO while he tried to give his speech. They were escorted out of the meeting. The meeting ended in 37 minutes (compared to 2.5 hours in previous years), with not a single question, largely due to the turmoil both outside and inside the meeting and the fact that Wells packed the room with their own employees.
While the media coverage portrayed the events as part of the Occupy movement, PICO groups in the Bay Area, SEIU, NPA, ACCE, AJS, NBL and other organizing groups provided the core leadership for the event.
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: