Angry at the Wall Street banks that were at the center of the financial meltdown, Americans have spent the last six months moving their money to credit unions and community banks in unprecedented numbers. More than 650,000 people moved to credit unions in one month last year, and 5.6 million Americans switched banks in the last three months.
Religious organizations have been at the forefront of movements to get consumers to move their money. The New Bottom Line, a coalition of faith groups, pledged to move $1 billion this year, and before Thanksgiving, churches moved $55 million away from Wall Street banks with pledges to remove as much as $100 million more. This week, churches in San Francisco announced they were moving another $10 million, Faith in Public Life reports:
This week, a group of clergy in San Francisco added another $10 million to that total with an Ash Wednesday press conference calling on Wells Fargo to put an immediate freeze on its foreclosures and repent for their misconduct.
Watch a news report about the group’s efforts:
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Wells Fargo issued a statement on the protest, saying, “We make every effort to avoid foreclosure.” The bank’s practices, however, tell a different story. Last July, it foreclosed on a family after telling it to skip payments in order to get a loan modification. It was found to have engaged in discriminatory lending practices, investigated for illegal foreclosures on military veterans, and fined for its subprime lending practices.
According to consulting firms, the nation’s 10 biggest banks could lose $185 million in customer deposits because of customer defections.