“US Bank and Wells Fargo Throw Families onto the Street”

“If US Bank and Wells Fargo truly care about this community, why are they so intent to throw families out on the street, and empty the neighborhoods of Minneapolis,” asked SEIU activist Mark Freeman at a spirited Tax Day rally in front of Wells Fargo’s headquarters.

Meanwhile, activists with Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, homeowners who have taken the Occupy Homes pledge to stay in their foreclosed properties, and Somali Americans who are unable to transfer money to families in their war-torn homeland, successfully penetrated US Bank’s shareholders meeting at the Minneapolis Convention Center. They peppered CEO Richard Davis with demands that US Bank pay more in taxes and negotiate with homeowners facing foreclosure whose mortgages are or were at one time controlled by US Bank.

Pressure on big banks working

“The 99% have been putting pressure on US Bank and other big banks for months now and it’s working,” said John Vinje, whose Bloomington, Minnesota, home is at risk of being sold through a sheriff’s sale. “We will stay in our home and want to find a solution with the bank. I’m here today to appeal personally to the CEO of US Bank, asking him for his assistance in making sure that happens.”

“US Bank and their leaders who are here today have the ability to restore the lifeline to Somalia,” said Ibrahim Nur, an activist who works with the local Somali community. “While members of their staff have met with us, we still do not have a solution. Each day that this crisis continues, more and more of our families suffer.”

Monique White, a North Minneapolis homeowner and single mother who faces foreclosure even though she works two jobs, has become a catalyst for the Occupy Homes movement, in Minneapolis and nationwide. During a shareholder question and answer session, White asked Davis for US Bank to renegotiate her mortgage, which is currently in the hands of the lending company Freddie Mac. Davis reportedly gave her a curt response, but offered to meet with White after the shareholder’s meeting. He did so, and reportedly offered to have his Vice President look further into her case. [See photo below: Interview with Monique White to come later tonight.]

Photo by Kevin Whelan, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy

While Richard Davis addressed US Bank shareholders — and activists posed as shareholders — approximately 200 demonstrators marched from the Convention Center, down Nicolet Mall, to Wells Fargo’s headquarters, where they held a spirited rally, posted a “bill” for “$21.6 billion Wells Fargo owes the 99%”, and asked the bank to pay its fair share in taxes. Leading them on the march through downtown Minneapolis were caricatures of Richard Davis and Wells Fargo Vice President Jon Campbell, riding on a horse-drawn carriage and taunting pedestrians on the street for paying more in taxes than they do.

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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