Interfaith Investor Group Urges Fed and Top Banks to Restore Public Confidence in Financial System
April 20th, 2011Citing Widespread Confidence Loss in U.S. Banks, Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility Advance Shareholder Proposals at Citigroup and Other Top Banks.
New York, NY
Today, a task force from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) meets with representatives from the Federal Reserve to discuss its progress implementing regulation passed as part of the Dodd-Frank Bill last July. At issue are structures created by the Operations Management Group to monitor the global trading of derivatives in an effort to limit the excessive risk-taking that nearly toppled the financial system in 2008, left millions jobless and homeless, and shook global confidence in the markets to its core.
On Thursday, the same group will appear as shareholders at Citigroup’s AGM looking for investor support for their proxy resolutions. The Citigroup AGM will be the first in a series of shareholder meetings that includes members of the “too big to fail” banks that received billions in government bailout funds.
In October of 2010, the ICCR team released a white paper titled Faith and Finance: Finding Common Ground to Protect the Common Good which laid out the steps they believed were necessary for financial reform to be successful. The group stressed that “an open, transparent and well-regulated global financial system is vital to serve all stakeholders, especially the world’s poor.”
Fr. Seamus Finn of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate said: As people of faith we are concerned with how market instability impedes the free flow of capital putting millions of lives in jeopardy. As investors we understand that a combination of regulation from outside and inside these financial institutions is required to secure the system and restore the public’s confidence.
Sr. Barbara Aires of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth said: It’s not difficult to understand why things have to change: When there are no jobs, homes are being improperly foreclosed and now, state and local budgets are in crisis, it’s clear the system is broken. Citigroup management has an obligation to its shareholders to fix what is broken.”
ICCR members have been engaging the banks since the 1970s on a range of practices including predatory lending, modifications of housing loans, executive compensation and lobbying. At last year’s Citigroup meeting, their proposal requesting greater transparency around derivatives trading received an unprecedented 30% of the vote by shareholders, paving the way for even higher votes at Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase.
“As the market recovers and bank CEO compensation returns to its breathtaking levels, we need to keep these issues front and center with bank management, government regulators and other investor groups until meaningful reform happen,” said Laura Berry, Executive Director of ICCR.
Finn said, “As Citigroup’s is the first shareholder meeting this proxy season, we want to send a strong message to bank management that we hope other investors will also hear: Share your strategies to reduce operational risk and make affordable capital available to everyone . Only then will the public’s confidence in the financial system be restored.”
For more information please contact:
Director of Communications, ICCR
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
Currently celebrating its 40th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change. Its 300 member organizations with over $100 billion in AUM have an enduring record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on policies promoting justice and sustainability in the world.