Tag Archives: san francisco

See Americas Biggest Bank Run From Its Responsibilities

By: IFG
April 25, 2012

Hiding behind riot police and scurrying into alleyways, executives from America’s biggest bank, Wells Fargo, entered their April 24 shareholders’ meeting in San Francisco while hundreds of peaceful protesters stood outside demanding accountability and justice. Inside,  several proxy shareholders were arrested as they called to end Wells’ fraudulent foreclosures, tax dodging, predatory lending, profiting from private prisons, and paying-off politicians to rig the rules.

IFG’s Plutonomy Program posits that globalization’s extreme concentrations of wealth and power require people to deal more directly with the individuals at the very top.  So we stood in solidarity with over400 events organized by Occupy, families fighting foreclosure, indebted students, immigrants’ rights groups, and even Wells’ own workers, as they blocked-off several streets in SF’s Financial District.  See this video of a foreclosure fighter sharing her story at IFG’s recent Teach-in on Wells Fargo.

John Stumpf, American banking’s highest-paid CEO who made almost $20M in 2011, called the shareholders’ meeting to order inside while, outside, janitors who clean Wells’ offices told the crowd how profits were squeezed from cutting workers’ healthcare and holding down wages.  But the bank’s record profits in 2011 were driven mainly by mortgages, where Well’s ruthless “Robo-signing” practices continue to foreclose on families, 84% of which in SF were found to be “clear violations of law” by a recent report from the City Attorney.

Warren Buffet, Wells’ single biggest shareholder, owns almost twice as many shares as any other investor.  His legendary investment fund, Berkshire Hathaway, has made him America’s second wealthiest man (after Bill Gates) with a personal net worth of $44B. Buffet has been in the news lately as the namesake of  President Obama’s proposed “Buffett Rule” which would  begin to  reverse years of  regressive taxation in America. Buffett says his secretary now pays taxes on a higher proportion of her income than Buffett himself pays.  That’s because capital gains are now taxed at  only 15% while wages are taxed at almost double the rate. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo avoided ALL taxes from 2008–2010.

The current U.S. tax code’s discrimination against workers’ wages in favor of capital investment has been a driving force of increasing inequality in America, where now almost 1 in 2  Americans is either in poverty, or near poverty.  While Buffett positions himself to champion more progressive tax policies, he is even more powerfully poised—as the most influential shareholder of America’s biggest bank—to reduce record inequality by lowering his expectations on the earnings from his own investments.  Otherwise, shareholder profits made by reducing the healthcare costs of Wells’ janitors could, strangely, shift from Buffet to the Gates Foundation, whose philanthropy aims to “improve healthcare.”  The Buffet Rule would work more effectively if Buffet ruled less ruthlessly by insisting on more realistic returns for his investments.

IFG and allies will continue to call upon  those corporations and individuals who  benefit most from—and are therefore most responsible  for—today’s financial system that is destroying people and the planet.

Read More: Protesting The Wells Fargo Shareholder’s Meeting, 24 Arrested At Wells Fargo ProtestActivists Disrupt Wells Fargo Shareholders Meeting

WHY SHUTDOWN WELLS FARGO’S SHAREHOLDERS MEETING

By: IFG
April 17, 2012

Last week, IFG partnered with San Francisco’s community based organizations and local Occupy activists to organize a Teach-in about America’s biggest bank, Wells Fargo, in preparation for their shareholders’ meeting in SF on April 24.

Check out this three-minute video to see why grassroots groups want to shutdown Wells.  The free public event provided a platform for families fighting foreclosure, indebted studentsimmigrants’ rights advocates, private prisons criticsOccupiers, and others impacted by Wells Fargo, to tell their stories.  Participants also heard about how to get involved, including training in non-violent direct action.

IFG’s Plutonomy Program works with grassroots groups to address globalization’s extreme concentrations of wealth and power that are corrupting democracy and destroying the planet through a financial system out of control.   America’s biggest bank deserves everyone’s attention.
See: http://stopwellsfargo.com/en/ for more about the actions around Wells Fargo’s Shareholders meeting
  • Tuesday, April 24, 10:00am
  • Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco