Breaking Up With Bad Banks - Action Center on Race and the Economy

How Wall Street Makes It Hard to Leave Them – and How We Say Goodbye

There has been growing recognition over the last decade of the destructive role that big banks have played in our society, harming our communities and our planet. There is wider awareness now of the ways that big banks worsened racial economic inequality, by both redlining certain neighborhoods, preventing families of color from buying homes, and also targeting those same neighborhoods for high-cost predatory loans that stripped homeowners of their wealth.

For instance:

• Over the last four years, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank, and Bank of America have together funneled almost $1 trillion into the fossil fuel industry –financing tar sands oil pipelines, fracking, and offshore oil drilling.

• Six banks – Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, BNP Paribas, SunTrust, US Bank, and Wells Fargo – have provided major financing to the two main private prison companies, helping them expand, diversify the ways they profit from imprisoning people, and lobby for harsher criminal penalties and stricter enforcement of immigration laws.

• Bank of America’s subsidiary Countrywide Financial paid $335 million to resolve accusations that it engaged in discriminatory mortgage lending practices, such as charging Black and Latino homebuyers excessive interest rates and fees. Citigroup paid $215 million to settle charges that its subprime subsidiary Associates engaged in systematic and widespread deceptive and abusive lending practices