About 40 demonstrators turned out as U.S. Bank held its annual shareholders’ meeting at Boise State University’s Morrison Center today.
Protesters lined up outside one entrance, shouting a steady stream of chants: “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!” and “Hey, hey, it’s not fair! U.S. Bank, pay your share!”
At last year’s shareholder meeting, in Minneapolis, U.S. Bank’s CEO faced questions from local activists about mortgage loan modifications and lending practices. Idaho Community Action Network (ICAN) executive director Terri Sterling said she and others from the region wanted to keep up the pressure at this year’s meeting.
“Our main point is that U.S. Bank is stripping all of our wealth through the financing of payday lenders, through their own payday loan products, through the fraudulent foreclosures that our families have faced,” Sterling said.
A demonstrator from Caldwell, Kathryn McNary, said she got trapped by high payday loan interest rates, and wound up losing her vehicle. “We were paying almost $150 a month on our payday loan. About $35 of that was going to principal, and the rest was going to interest,” she said. The loan was originally for $300, McNary said.
U.S. Bank is one of a handful of banks nationwide that makes payday loans, according to a recent report. Protesters from Idaho Community Action Network were joined by others from Oregon and at least one person from Minnesota, where U.S. Bank is headquartered.
According to Alliance for a Just Society’s Dan Fleishman, 10 members of the demonstrating group met with U.S. Bank officials as proxies for other shareholders. “We felt we were heard, but they have no intention of making changes,” Fleishman said. “But they were pleasant enough.”