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Protests Against Wells Fargo Set for Downtown Des Moines Today

There are 14,000 Wells Fargo employees in Des Moines, where a protest is planned today over the company's banking practices. (
There are 14,000 Wells Fargo employees in Des Moines, where a protest is planned today over the company's banking practices. (
April 24, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa – Activists and shareholders angry about the banking practices of Wells Fargo will rally in downtown Des Moines today, blocks from where the company is holding its annual meeting. The banking giant was fined $1 billion last week by federal regulators over its car insurance and mortgage abuses.

Adam Mason, state policy director of the group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, says the bank's fines and other scandals demonstrate it's not consumer-oriented and needs to be held accountable.

"Wells Fargo says that they're changing their ways, but what we've seen time and time again is that they continue to profit at the expense of so many folks, in so many different communities, and so we're going to show up tomorrow to send a message that this won't stand," Mason says.

Wells Fargo claims it has made significant progress in turning-around its banking culture. The 10 A.M. protest will be held at 666 Walnut, while the Wells Fargo shareholders meeting is at the downtown Marriott Hotel.

The American Federation of Teachers last week dropped Wells Fargo as a recommended mortgage lender to its nearly two million members because of the bank's association with the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers.

Mason says protesters will represent a broad coalition of unions and activists including Native Americans affected by the Wells Fargo-financed Dakota Access Pipeline, and student loan borrowers who say they paid unnecessary fees to the bank.

"The deck is really stacked against everyday people in so many different ways, and Wells Fargo time and again has profited off of that rigged economy, and so we're looking forward to using this to connect with other organizations across the country," he explains.

Wells Fargo has more than 14,000 employees in the Des Moines area. Bank workers, shareholders, customers and community members are expected to address the shareholder meeting. Last year's meeting in San Francisco was halted when a shareholder-activist shouted at the CEO to address consumer complaints.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - IA