Protesters gathered outside of U.S. Bank’s headquarters on Nicollet Mall today to urge people to move their money out of the bank, alleging the company engages in predatory financial practices that harm low-income people and invests in polluting industries disproportionately impacting communities of color.
Religious leaders with ISAIAH and environmentalists with MN350, among others, participated in the demonstration that involved some street theatrics with two protesters dressed in hazmat suits and others holding signs calling payday loans a “community hazard.”
The organizations are calling on U.S. Bank to stop financing payday lenders, put an end to foreclosure practices harming communities of color and end investments in oil pipelines and other fossil fuel industries in favor of renewable energy projects.
Dana Ripley, a spokeswoman for U.S. Bank, declined to comment on the protest.
Rev. Paul Slack of New Creation Church in North Minneapolis and president of ISAIAH, a faith-based coalition, said ISAIAH leaders will be asking its 250,000 members to move their money out of U.S. Bank.
Rev. Billy Russell of the Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in South Minneapolis, who also serves as the president of the Minnesota Baptist Convention, said he will also be asking people to close U.S. Bank accounts.
“U.S. Bank needs to take the ‘U.S.’ from its logo, because this bank is not for us,” he said.
MN350, a Minneapolis-based environmental organization focused on solutions to climate change, has asked U.S. Bank to divest from fossil fuel companies and end support for organizations like Enbridge Energy, which transports tar sands oils from Canada through Minnesota to other parts of the country.
The St. Paul Federation of Teachers has also urged U.S. Bank to change its foreclosure practices. The union is seeking a policy that would require the bank to offer families with children in St. Paul public schools foreclosure mediation before proceeding with a foreclosure on a home.
Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association — the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States.