Protests Target Wells Fargo’s Shareholders Meeting

In HBO’s movie “Too Big to Fail,” about the inner workings behind the bank bailout, based upon the Andrew Ross Sorkin book, Wells Fargo is portrayed as not wanting to take the money but handcuffed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Out in the real world, though, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf snuck into the back door of the shareholder’s meeting and refused entry to shareholders demanding answers. The huge bank funds payday loan companies, invests in private prisons and paid no taxes from 2008-2010.

Activist groups claim between 1,500 and 2,000 people rallied outside the big bank’s annual shareholders meeting. Another 150 owned shares of the company but their attempts to take part in the meeting were denied by Wells Fargo, a move that New Bottom Line says shows Wells Fargo’s true colors. In Joshua Holland’s piece on the events from Tuesday, he writes:

Organizers said that some shareholders – not affiliated with the protests – continued to be let in, a move organizers said was illegal.

Video from the event:

New Bottom Line wants people to use May as a “Move Our Money Month” to divest the 99 percent of Wells Fargo. If everyday people continued pulling their money out of big banks like Wells Fargo, opening up accounts at locally owned credit unions, it would result in weakening their grasp on power.

As part of the larger 99% Power, the activists want their demands heard. Much like the events in Detroit, Minneapolis, Houston and elsewhere, you can expect similar activities in the coming weeks. Organizations participating also want people to know they do not necessarily need to take to the streets to make a difference. You can let these large corporations know your displeasure with your checkbooks — don’t give them your money.

Even with the massive rally outside, shareholders awarded Stumpf with another raise, making his total compensation close to $20 million.

“It’s been a very good year for Wells Fargo,” said Stumpf. Obviously!

Meanwhile, Ana Casa Wilson struggles to modify her home mortgage with Wells Fargo writing in an email:

I was born with cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair for mobility. In 2009, I was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. After my breast cancer diagnosis, my husband James had to take time off of work to care for me. We decided to ask Wells Fargo for a loan modification on the home I grew up and have lived for over thirty years to help ease the burden of losing a paycheck.

Wells Fargo denied my request for a loan modification and decided to foreclose on us. Even though my husband is back to work and we are able to make our full payments, the bank won’t budge.

She is not alone. Others face the similar problems from the banking industry. She is also backed by people from around the country.

Related Stories:

Protesters to GE: “Enough is Enough”

Protesters Play Tax Dodgerball, GE CEO Interrupted

Activists Protest on Streets and in Board Rooms

Photo by moneyblognews


Lori E.
Lori E6 years ago

Horrible. WellsFargo is my bank...not anymore!

KAREN L6 years ago

These big banks are the biggest robbers in town....divesting is a good idea!

Patricia P.
Patricia P6 years ago

Diana, you're off by a mile on this one. "The American Dream" has been part of American culture and lore going back way before Carter, and pushed by both parties. Home ownership is a big part of this. But up until the 21st century people had to be financially solvent to be able to do it. Clinton began deregulation with the repeal of Glass-Steagle and it continued full force under Bush. (Conservatives are big on deregulation).
But guess who was responsible for the "badly thought out" laws that passed during the Bush era. The big banks! Government and Congress do not operate in a vacuum - they are influenced by big money (the laws weren't "badly thought out" according to the banks' reasoning - they profited immensely). These laws allowed banks to prey on vulnerable people who were lied to and encouraged to take out loans they couldn't afford to pay back.
The banks are predators, period, and largely responsible for the crash of 2008.
The fact that they made so much money should be indicative to anybody with half a brain that they fostered this.

Diana S.
Diana S6 years ago

The current and ongoing mortgage crisis was not engineered by the banks, but by Jimmy Carter and other short-sighted liberals who promoted the idea of the "American Dream" (including home ownership) being available to all Americans, without giving any consideration to whether or not some of these Americans could afford to PAY for it!

Then Bubba Clinton came along and engineered the de-regulation of the mortgage industry to give all those same Americans easier access to bank loans they never could have qualified for before the laws changed, regardless of whether they could pay the loans back.

Add to that natural human greed and selfishness, buying macmansions that fit their PRIDE and GREED rather than their need and their financial ability, and the banks willing and able to take advantage of badly-thought-out laws and greedy individuals whose eyes were bigger than their wallets - and you have our current mortgage crisis.

The majority of those who have lost their homes to foreclosure in the last five-six years could never have afforded them in the long run anyway. They didn't lose them because of the lending practices of predatory banks, they lost them to bad laws and their own greed!

Don't blame the banks for human stupidity!

Linda T.
Linda T6 years ago

Thumbs up.

Gloria H.
Gloria H6 years ago

their logo says it all - running away from the shareholders and customers as fast as the coach can go!

Inna Prodan
Inna P6 years ago

We should all move our money out of big banks. I plan to move my money out of Chase after 20-some years with them. We need to make a difference in this world.

Deborah Vitek
Deborah Vitek6 years ago

This was a great action and there needs to be more and more of these sort of protests. Everyone, please join the General Strike on May 1st. It would be a real impact if EVERYONE of us 99%;s did not work that day....everyone. The world will not end if nothing is bought or sold and no one goes anywhere for a day.....but it sure would make a huge point.

lisa b.
Lisa b6 years ago

As a Wells Fargo customer, i can truly say they don't care a bit about their customers who are struggling. They'll give you the runaround until you give up, or give in. That's what their customer service gets paid to do.

Shar F.
Sharon F6 years ago

Kudos to the protestors. Telephone companies are also ripping us off big time!!!

[Use credit unions instead of big banks.]