More than 200 gather outside of U.S. Bank shareholders meeting in Minneapolis, march to Wells Fargo Center
Minneapolis– On Tax Day, hundreds of Minnesota’s 99% gathered to send a strong message to U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, demanding that they stop lobbying for the interests of the 1%. A “community shareholders meeting” was held outside of U.S. Bank’s annual meeting at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Speakers and community leaders rallied the crowd as more about 40 community members with shares and proxies entered the inside meeting, delivering the same message.
“When big banks, corporations and the rest of the 1% don’t pay their fair share of taxes, the citizens of Minnesota must pick up the slack,” Robin Dial, a laid-off teacher and mother of two told the crowd. “These banks and corporations say they deserve these tax breaks and loopholes because they say they are creating jobs. But they continue to lay off workers, send jobs overseas where they can pay unfair wages, and put their profits in offshore bank accounts where they are sheltered from paying taxes on it. Well, I don’t have that luxury. Nor do the rest of us.”
John Vinje, a Bloomington homeowner has personal experience with U.S. Bank and their role in Minnesota’s foreclosure crisis. He and his wife defended their home from a Sherriff’s sale earlier this month, with the support of community activists. Today, he joined other Minnesotans attending the bank’s annual shareholders meeting. “The 99% have been putting pressure on U.S. Bank and other big banks for months now and it’s working,” Vinje said. “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 U.S. Bank, asking him for his assistance in making sure that happens.”
Ibrahim Nur, an activist who works with Minnesota’s Somali community, spoke about the ongoing funds transfer crisis that affects his family and thousands of others. Nur used to send money to his sister in East Africa until banks cut off funds transfers late last year. “U.S. Bank and their leaders who are here today have the ability to restore the lifeline to Somalia,” Nur said. “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.”
A large majority of Somali Minnesotans bank with U.S. Bank or Wells Fargo. Thousands have pledged to close their accounts if a solution has not been reached before May 11. Inside of the shareholders meeting, U.S. Bank President and CEO Richard Davis told Somali community members present that officials with the bank would meet with them.
Following the rally outside of the Convention Center, the crowd paraded through downtown Minneapolis along Nicollet Mall over the busy lunch hour. They stopped in front of Wells Fargo Center, presenting a “Fair Tax Bill” to a puppet carrying the likeness of Wells Fargo Executive Vice President Jon Campbell. As Minnesotans pay their fair share this Tax Day, the crowd demanded that Wells Fargo do the same.
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