Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Groups Launch Campaign to "Move Your Money" out of US Bank

Call on Bank to Stop Toxic Practices of Financing Payday Lending, Tar Sands Oil Pipelines, and Engaging in Unsound Foreclosure Practices


Minneapolis - On February 16th, over 100 religious leaders, clergy, environmental activists and community members gathered in front of US Bank headquarters in downtown Minneapolis to launch a campaign urging individuals and institutions to move their money out of US Bank.

The effort is aimed at getting US Bank to end its hazardous practices of:

• financing predatory payday lenders who trap low-income communities of color in cycles of debt

• funding dangerous tar sands oil pipelines and fossil fuel extraction that threaten our water, climate and Indigenous communities

• engaging in unsound foreclosure practices that disproportionately affect families of color, disrupting children's education and broadening an already significant racial achievement gap.

"We are calling on US Bank to divest from these toxic practices," said Reverend Paul Slack, Pastor of New Creation Church and President of ISAIAH, "but until they do, we will be calling on ISAIAH's 250,000 members to divest from US Bank."

According to ISAIAH, US Bank has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars in capital into the payday loan industry, including providing financing to Payday America and ACE Cash Express, the two largest payday lenders operating in Minnesota. ISAIAH is calling on US Bank to stop financing predatory payday lenders and their 300% interest rates, and instead to offer its own affordable, small loan products and to support programs that help people escape the payday loan debt trap.

"US Bank needs to remove the 'U-S' from its logo, because this bank is not for us," said Reverend Billy Russell, Pastor Greater Friendship Church and President of the Minnesota Baptist Convention, announcing that they would also be calling on their members to move their money out of US Bank.

MN350 is calling on US Bank to divest from fossil fuel companies and instead invest in renewable energy such as wind and solar projects. US Bank invests billions of dollars in some of the industries that disproportionately pollute communities of color and that are causing runaway climate change, such as Enbridge Energy, a pipeline conglomerate that transports tar sands oil mined in Canada through Minnesota and other parts of the U.S. From extraction, transport, refining, and consumption, tar sands oil threatens our health, water, and the lives and rights of First Nations people living at the source and downstream of extraction projects.

"Enbridge is targeting tribal land and low-income communities for its pipelines because it views these lands as easier access," said ReneAnn Goodrich of Native Lives Matter. "We are asking US Bank to stop contributing to the historical exploitation of lands and people. We are not expendable. We Matter!"

Members of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers have seen first-hand the impact that foreclosures have on education by causing a major disruption in students' lives as their families are forced to move. Students may have to change schools or even districts, adjust to a different curriculum, and develop new relationships with teachers and peers. Involuntary residential moves and within-year school switching can have detrimental effects on children's academic and social development. They are calling on US Bank, with which the St. Paul Public Schools bank, to adopt a policy that during the school year it will not foreclose on any home where school-age children reside unless they have first offered foreclosure mediation with a neutral third party.


The groups are working together as part of Minnesotans for a Fair Economy and released a series of reports last year titled "Inside the Vault: Exposing how US Bank and Wells Fargo Harm Minnesota Communities," examining the different areas in which US Bank and Wells Fargo negatively impact Minnesota, including education, the economy, consumer lending, and the environment.


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