Angry Over Unfair Mortgage Practices, Churches Pull Money From Wall Street Banks

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"Angry Over Unfair Mortgage Practices, Churches Pull Money From Wall Street Banks"

Religious leaders at Occupy Wall Street

Even though their profits are rising, Wall Street banks have begun getting bad news from the 99 Percent Movement. More than 40,000 people moved their money from banks to credit unions on Bank Transfer Day earlier this month, bringing total new credit union enrollment up to more than 650,000 since the beginning of October. For the 10 largest banks, that could mean about $185 billion in lost deposits next year alone.

Now, a new coalition of groups is planning to move even more money off of Wall Street. Angered by predatory and often discriminatory mortgage lending practices that continue to come to light, an inter-faith coalition of churches and religious organizations is pledging to move as much as $1 billion away from the nation’s biggest banks, the Washington Post reports:

The New Bottom Line (NBL) coalition of congregations, community organizations, labor unions and individuals is promoting a “Move Our Money” campaign with the goal of shifting $1 billion from big banks to community banks and credit unions.

In a way, the banks have divested from our communities, especially communities of color,” said the Rev. Ryan Bell, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor in Los Angeles. “So we’re basically telling Bank of America that we want them to invest in our communities, and until they do that we’re not going to give our money to them.”

The Move Our Money campaign is the latest sign of religious organizations joining in the 99 Percent Movement’s struggle. As of Monday, churches had already moved more than $55 million from Wall Street banks, and about 100 leaders from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim groups have pledged to move more than $100 million more in the coming days.

The campaign, meanwhile, should draw more attention to predatory lending practices from Wall Street. Bank of America and other banks have come under fire for various types of mortgage fraud and abuse, including robo-signing foreclosure documents and repossessing homes that either weren’t in foreclosure or that the banks didn’t own. As Bell told the Post, recent reports have also shed light on the discriminatory nature of those mortgage practices, as blacks and Latinos were twice as likely to have been affected by the housing crisis as white borrowers.

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