On the 23ed of October, DC Reinvest protested at the Wilson Building, demanding that the city government remove all its accounts and business from Wells Fargo. A resolution has been introduced in the council to divest, and activists are focussing pressure on councilmember Jack Evans to get it brought to a vote. Wells Fargo’s failing community reinvestment score triggers an existing DC law forbidding the city’s business relationship with this notorious and predatory bank.
Wells Fargo is infamous for investing in both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. They are infamous for their investments in the GEO Group and its privatly-owned prisons. They also are infamous for predatory lending, and for opening fake accounts and auto insurance policies in the names of existing customers.
One of the speakers at the rally detailed Well’s Fargo’s decision to target inner-city communities in DC and Baltimore for predatory subprime loans. She reports that Wells Fargo executives used the term “mud people” for depositors of color who got behind on their payments. This racial slur has its origins in the “two seedline” version of the racist “Christian Identity” movement, which was popular with neo-Nazis during the 1980’s and 1990’s. The use of this slur by Wells Fargo executives thus carries a lot of ugly baggage, and suggests that they are more than just another racist bank, and like many other things suggests that Wells Fargo is the worst of the worst and a special case.
Wells Fargo has also targetted DC’s Gay male community, seeking to encourage white cisgendered Gay men to open accounts by peddling a fake “country-western” image among the subset of Gay men who favor that culture. This is probably why the Wells Fargo stagecoach is such a common sight at Pride parades even though community activists have been blocking these contingents and confronting Well’s Fargo booths at Pride events for several years. That same stagecoach is in and of itself a symbol of racist oppression. The original Wells Fargo stagecoaches were in integral part of the infrastructure used to loot and disposess the lands and Indigenous people of western Turtle Island. In many ways, the Wells Fargo stagecoach was the Dakota Access pipeline of its time.
Well’s Fargo is targetting Indigenous communities on Turtle Island for displacement and destruction with their funding of pipelines such as the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline. Indigenous people have resisted these projects to the utmost and have been as clear as possible that these projects do not have permission to cross their land! A break in either of these two Wells Fargo-funded pipelines could force Lakota people from their lands by permanently contaminating rivers which are the only source of water for them. This the chants of “Mni Wiconi” or “Water is Life” heard in Standing Rock and at pipeline and Wells Fargo protests all over Turtle Island, this protest included.
More on racial slurs and racial steering by Wells Fargo, had to use (dot) to break links so as to prevent WordPress from autoloading content from New York Times without being clicked on
Consumerist.com story on Well’s Fargo steering those they called “mud people” into subprime loans called “ghetto loans” on the basis of race
The NY Times reports African-American former loan officer Mr Paschal testified in an affidavit that “They referred to subprime loans made in minority communities as ghetto loans and minority customers as ‘those people have bad credit’, ‘those people don’t pay their bills’ and ‘mud people.”