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Protesters Want Accountability from Minnesota's Big Banks

October 12, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS - Jobless workers joined labor leaders Tuesday, calling on Minnesota's biggest banks to help jump-start the state economy by investing in job creation and lending to more small businesses.

One of the protesters, LeAnn Bosquez of Maple Grove, says big banks received trillions of dollars in the bailout from a financial crisis she says they helped create.

"Big banks were pushing horrible mortgages. People were not understanding how they were working, and they got into them - which crashed the economy, which cost us jobs."

Bosquez, who lost her job during the recession, says she's still looking for work despite extensive experience in the financial industry and with business management.

"I've turned companies around. I've taken successful companies and grown them. I have a fantastic background. When I have applied for jobs, when I have followed up and talked to someone, they say 'Oh, I'm so sorry. We had over 300 people apply for that job and we've been trying to get back to all of our applicants, but there are just so many, it's hard.' "

Before the financial collapse, Bosquez says, the handwriting was on the wall, but banks just kept pushing for profits.

"I, as a citizen, knew that there were going to be massive foreclosures, and if I was able to figure that out, there's no way I would believe that banks and Wall Street didn't know that also."

The Minnesota AFL-CIO cites independent research which shows that in the past four years, Minnesota's biggest banks - Wells Fargo, US Bank and TCF - have cut their small-business lending by nearly 70 percent.

More details on the protest are online at mnaflcio.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN