Everyday People Protest inside Wells Fargo and Bank of America

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Iowans to Big Banks: Give Bonuses to State Budgets

DES MOINES, IOWA — Hundreds of members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) protested inside and took over the downtown offices of Wells Fargo and Bank of America yesterday to demand they give back their bonuses to fill gaping state budget shortfalls hurting everyday Iowans, chanting “Bust up big banks!” and “Put the people first!”

This protest was part of CCI’s Showdown at the Statehouse, where CCI members called on elected officials to stand on the side of everyday people, rein in corporate power and greed (factory farms, payday lenders), and stop balancing the state budget on the backs of everyday people and stand up for campaign finance reform.

“Big banks — like Wells Fargo and Bank of America — and Wall Street crashed our national economy and our state budgets; they must do their part to fix it” said CCI member Judy Lonning from Des Moines. “We want their bonuses.”

Iowa, like almost every other state in the nation, is facing a devastating budget crisis. Iowa is looking at a $1 billion budget shortfall and budget cuts have already been made on the backs of everyday people (worker furloughs and cuts to vital services).

Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and other big banks are posting record profits, doling out lavish bonuses and are back to business as usual, while everyday people continue to suffer the fallout of the economic crisis. And, on top of that, big banks are funneling millions to block meaningful financial reform, jacking up consumer fees, failing to modify enough loans to keep families in their homes and financing payday lenders that rip off our communities.

“Wells Fargo and Bank of America are hurting hardworking families” said CCI member Vern Tigges from Carroll, Iowa. “Our state budget deficits could be wiped out if the big banks gave their total bonus packages — estimated to be about $140 BILLION — back to our states. For all intents and purposes, their bonuses are our bonuses because we bailed them out and put them back in working order.”

CCI’s demands for Wells Fargo and Bank of America include:

– Stop financing payday lenders that trap people in a cycle of debt and suck tens of millions of dollars out of our communities each year.

– Modify more loans to keep families in their homes.

– Give your bonuses to states to relieve state budget crises.

– Support the Consumer Financial Protection Agency and stop lobbying against the people.

The Showdown in Des Moines was the first in a series of Showdowns that are being planned across the country where the American people will go toe to toe with the big banks.

In October, more than 60 CCI members participated with thousands of others in the Showdown in Chicago as part of National People’s Action’s (national coalition of grassroots organizing groups of which CCI is an affiliate) Showdown in America. Thousands of Americans called on the Big Banks to stand on the side of the people.

Video and photo to be posted soon after the action at our Youtube page and Flickr page.

ABOUT CCI:

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a group of everyday people who talk, act and get things done on issues that matter most. With thousands of members from all walks of life — urban and rural, black and white, immigrants and lifelong Iowans — CCI has been tackling tough issues and getting things done for 35 years.

For more information, visit www.iowacci.org.

Garrett Godwin is an entertainment journalist, who writes for NewsBlaze about television and people in the entertainment industry, from his home state of Michigan. Contact Garrett by writing to NewsBlaze.