One of the main goals of the Occupy Wall Street is to expose the unfair tax and policy loopholes that allow major banks like Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America to make billions of dollars while paying less in taxes than a school teacher or first responder.
On Tuesday, Wells Fargo Chairman of the Board & CEO John Stumpf’s was scheduled to talk at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management’s “First Tuesday” luncheon. Local protesters had a different idea.
When Stumpf was a few minutes into his speech, about 10 protesters began yelling and waving a banner that said “Tales of Wells Fargo” decrying the bank’s lending policies.
Police escorted the group outside, where about 50 union members, students and community activists were staging a demonstration. SEIU Local 284, which co-sponsored the protest, represents school and child care workers.
Outside, students, educators, homeowners and labor activists rallied near the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center to tell Wells Fargo CEO Jon Stumpf to change policies trapping Minnesotans under “chains of debt.”
Wells Fargo was a significant player in the subprime crisis. In 2006, the last year before the subprime bubble started to burst, Wells originated or co-issued $74.2 billion worth of subprime loans, making it one of the top subprime lenders in the country. In September 2008, Wells Fargo still held $48 billion worth of subprime mortgages in its servicing portfolio, making it the nation’s sixth largest subprime servicer.
Despite its large portfolio of at risk mortgages, Wells Fargo has started trial mortgage modifications for only 11% of its 292,515 borrowers who are eligible for the Obama Administration’s Making Home Affordable Program (and are at least 60 days past due). At Wachovia, which Wells Fargo acquired in 2008, the number is even lower, 2% of 74,231 eligible borrowers.
Read more about Wells Fargo’s dubious practices here.
Image: Occupy Sacremento - Credit: Flickr - a.mina