Bringing the Economy Home

U.S. Bank’s Annual Shareholder Meeting In Boise To Draw Regional Protesters

Boise Metro Chamber / Flickr Creative Commons

Boise's U.S. Bank building (left) is a fixture of the downtown skyline.

U.S. Bank executives and shareholders are en-route to Boise for their annual meeting. The Minneapolis-based bank’s shareholders are scheduled to gather on Boise State University’s campus at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday.

The Nation writes the big bank moved its meeting some 1,400 miles west this year in part to avoid protesters and groups opposed to the bank’s policies.

[Last year] The event was dominated by shareholders and proxies who are members of Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, an alliance of community, faith and labor organizations working for a more equitable economy.

“Our members asked CEO Richard Davis direct questions about issues like principal reductions and foreclosures, and payday lending,” said Eric Fought, communications director of the organization. “We were really effective in holding them accountable, so this year they looked for another solution — to hide from us.”

On Tuesday, April 16, U.S. Bank officers will jet from their hometown to hold this year’s meeting in Boise, Idaho. If the bankers are hoping for a better reception in this reddest of states, or that activists will take a pass on the long distance travel required to get there, then Martha and the Vandellas have a word of advice: Got nowhere to run to, baby. Nowhere to hide. – The Nation

But the Idaho Community Action Network tells The Nation it has more than 100 members ready to converge on the Boise meeting.

More than 100 members of the Idaho Community Action Network (ICAN) — who are mostly rural, working poor and seniors — will travel to take direct, non-violent action both inside and outside of the meeting. More than half of these individuals will be driving 3 to 7 hours to reach the venue. Their allies from Minnesotans for a Fair Economy will be there to greet them, along with workers from SEIU Local 503 — the largest union in Oregon with 54,000 members.

“People are so excited that Minneapolis and Oregon are coming to support this effort,” said ICAN executive director Terri Sterling. “It helps our membership, it helps motivate them.”

Among the issues on the agenda: a call for U.S. Bank to pay its fair share in taxes; write-down mortgages to help stem the foreclosure and underwater mortgage crisis; and end payday loans with exorbitant interest rates. – The Nation

One of ICAN’s goals is to cap payday loan interest rates in Idaho, an issue that has made little headway in the state Legislature. ICAN wants to cap rates at 36 percent, something several states have mandated. The New York Times reports 15 states have banned payday loans, but big banks are moving in to fill the void of short-term, high-interest lending.


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