Citing a list of infractions, the National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) announced a nationwide boycott of Wells Fargo Bank on Aug. 23.
The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans, launches nationwide boycott against Wells Fargo for targeting the Black community and suppressing economic growth in Black neighborhoods.
Rev. Anthony Evans, President of the National Black Church Initiative says, “You only have to list its sins from the past 20 months to realize how rotten this company is. We will not accept their apologies, they are simply thieves and because they are white they do not go to jail.”
Wells Fargo has made headlines over the past two years for questionable practices such as creating false banking accounts, charging unfair mortgages fees and assigning unneeded car insurance to customers. The bank’s activities led to $1 billion fine in April by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
That fine is not adequate, says Evans, who notes how Wells Fargo’s questionable mortgage practices had a grossly large negative effect on wealth in Black communities across the country.
“What we hold Wells responsible for, in our community, is taking out about $50 billion of wealth in terms of equity in our housing. That [equity] would have a direct impact on African American wealth and whether or not Blacks could afford college, have health insurance and be able to save for retirement,” explained Evans to the LA Sentinel.
“We, as a community have not responded to that. We are not going to allow Wells of getting away with raping and ravishing our community and tell us, ‘We’re sorry and let’s hit a restart button’ and offer us an apology.”
Acknowledging that asking people to immediately withdraw their funds from the bank is not feasible, Evans instead recommended actions that people can do starting with being aware of “what Wells Fargo has done to the African American community.” Evans also suggested that Blacks avoid opening new checking or savings accounts at the bank.
Evans says NBCI plans to continue the boycott until Wells Fargo develops a “massive economic development program for the African American community,” said Evans.
He added that the organization hopes to initiate that action by presenting the bank with “a manifesto of what we think that they should do. We are prepared to stay in this boycott over the next five years,” insisted Evans.
Portions of this report from the LA Sentinel