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A State of the Union victory on holding banks accountable

January 26, 2012, 8:00 am | Posted by Kristin Ford

Progressive organizations, including the New Bottom Line coalition, organized a massive coordinated “bank transfer day” last year where hundreds of thousands of Americans pulled their money out of the big banks.  These financial institutions, like Wells Fargo and Bank of America, were targeted because of their predatory practices targeting low-income Americans, their record of illegally foreclosing on families, and out of general concern for their huge profits and influence over our political and financial systems.

During last week’s Bank of America earnings call, CEO Brian Moynihan revealed that account closures at Bank of America jumped 20 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, likely due to their controversial $5 monthly fee and continued momentum from the Move Your Money efforts.

Many of the same groups behind Move Your Money have been pressuring the White House not to reach a financial settlement with the big banks caught systematically breaking the law during the foreclosure scandal.

On Tuesday, in the President’s State of the Union, these groups achieved a big win: a commitment from the President not to let the banks off the hook with a quiet and relatively small-scale settlement.  Today PICO National Network, a faith-based member of the New Bottom Line coalition, released a statement applauding the President’s move to launch a federal investigation into unscrupulous housing and lending practices.  It reads, in part:

This is the first step towards reaching the broader goal of $300 billion in principal reduction and an additional $50 billion in restitution for those who have lost their homes, especially targeted to the hardest-hit communities.  We also need the President to act immediately to make sure that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stop standing in the way of reducing underwater mortgage debt.  Only with these pieces in place will we begin to see the housing market, our economy, and our communities make a lasting recovery.

The New Bottom Line is sending a message  to the President thanking him and urging him to make sure the investigation has real teeth.  You can send your own message here.

H/T Think Progress

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