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Problem: 
It would be hard to dream up a story as incredible as this – the same financial institutions that drove a record foreclosure crisis, sent our economy into a deep recession, and needed billions upon billions in taxpayer bailouts, are back to raking in billions in profits and continue to spend millions to block any type of common sense financial reform.

Big Banks—like Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup—continue to:
  • Award themselves huge paychecks and bonuses;
  • Foreclose on thousands of families everyday;
  • Finance payday lending operations;
  • Charge outrageous overdraft and other fees;
  • Set sky high interest rates;
  • Spend millions to lobby against common sense reforms that would help protect everyday people from future economic turmoil.
Too big to fail, too big to exist

In the US today:
  • the nation's three largest banks (Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase) issue 54% of the country’s mortgages;
  • the top four banks (includes Citibank) hold 34% of the nation’s deposits; and,
  • the five largest credit card lenders (including American Express and Capital One) control 67% of the market.
These companies have a stranglehold on our wallets. And as we’ve seen, when they make bad decisions, they can take the whole economy down with them.
Solution: 
Here’s a radical idea: What if big banks actually helped people build wealth, instead of plotting strategies to nickel and dime our communities?

We are calling on Big Banks to:
  • Donate their bonuses to fix state budget crises, create jobs and keep hundreds of families in their homes;
  • Proactively modify at-risk mortgages including principal reduction;
  • Stop financing payday loans and other predatory products;
  • Stop targeting African-American, Latinos, and other people of color with the worst quality loan products and highest fees;
  • Extend quality credit to low and moderate income communities;
  • Start making quality loans again to small businesses to spur job creation;
  • Start low-interest small dollar loan programs with affordable terms and make them a standard practice;
  • Commit to green and sustainable practices;
  • Stop lobbying against common sense financial reforms that will help everyday people;
  • Stop bankrupting our States and local governments with unfair and sky-high interest payment obligations;
  • Provide true whistleblower protections for bank workers who expose criminal or exploitative bank practices;
  • Develop programs to turn over bank-owned properties to the community.
Break up the Big Banks

New laws should be put in place that minimize the risk of the “too
big to fail” problem. No single institution should be in control of such a large part of the market. Instead, we should encourage a vibrant, diverse, stable banking system, made up of thousands of small and medium size banks.

Strong competition policies and antitrust laws will encourage financial institutions to invest in productive activity, instead of investing in changing the rules of the game or manipulating the market.
   

 

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