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People take action in Missouri

November 19, 2010

GRO to Bank of America: Walk the Walk

 Columbia, MO – GRO – Grass Roots Organizing members and community leaders gathered at the downtown Columbia Bank of America branch Thursday afternoon.  The message for Bank of America:  halt home foreclosures, divest from predatory lenders and clean up your mess. The event included a letter delivery, press conference, and march through the downtown area.  The event was part of a national week of actions calling on big banks to “Clean up their mess.”

GRO members Graham McCaulley, Shari Korthuis and Fenny Dorsey led the group.  The three started the rally by delivering a letter to a representative inside the local B of A branch office. The letter, addressed to national Bank of America President of Global Commercial Banking David Darnell, calls on Bank of America to “immediately discontinue your financial support for the payday lending industry.” As the crowd of participants chanted outside the bank, the local representative agreed to fax the letter to Darnell.

Following the letter delivery, the leaders addressed the crowd of participants and reporters.  McCaulley focused on Bank of America’s investments in predatory lending stores.  Dorsey addressed home foreclosures: “These greedy banks are getting ready to hand out $144 billion in bonuses,” Dorsey said.  “And they still have the nerve to kick families out of their homes…we call a rat a rat.  We call a crook a crook.  Bank of America, you’re BAD FOR AMERICA.”

Korthuis called out Bank of America executives for repeatedly saying one thing and doing another.  “We’ve talked [with them] in meetings, we’ve delivered letters, and they’ve come out in their fancy business suits to quiet us down at rallies.  But they’re still talking out of both sides of their mouth.”  After reiterating the groups demands that Bank of America stop investing in predatory lending, and stop home foreclosures, Korthuis closed by saying “We know you’re making off rich while the rest of us suffer.  We know you say one thing and do another.  It’s time to walk the walk!”

Organizer Lily Tinker Fortel closed the press conference by reminding victims of predatory lending and home foreclosures that they are not alone and should not feel ashamed. She emphasized a message that was a common theme throughout the event “We’re going to expose them and we’re going to hold them accountable…Bank of America – We’ll Be BACK!”

 The chanting crowd then embarked on a march through downtown Columbia.  Onlookers offered nods and verbal encouragement and passing drivers honked in support as the high-energy event wrapped up.

 GRO – Grass Roots Organizing is a multi-issue nonprofit social justice organization based in Mexico, Missouri with an outreach office in Columbia.  GRO’s Consumers Organized Now! (CON) Coalition is committed to calling the shady practices of Big Banks and predatory lenders.  For more information about GRO, call 877-581-9595 or visit our website



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