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News from inside the Bank of America ($13.24 0.03%) annual shareholders meeting has been overwhelmed by news of the hundreds of protesters outside the meeting, who protested a laundry list of complaints over everything from funding mountaintop coal removal to unfair foreclosure practices.
The protesters marched to the meeting at 8 a.m., carrying things like big boxing gloves that read “Defend our homes!” and a giant ball and chain labeled “debt.” While the events were largely peaceful, four protesters were arrested for trying to force their way into the meeting.
Inside the meeting, investor-activists questioned BofA CEO Brian Moynihan for 45 minutes.
The protesters, which gathered under the name “99% Power Coalition” have staged similar protests outside of Wells Fargo ($40.24 0.23%) and General Electric ($23.53 -0.13%) meetings, and all have drawn hundreds of protesters.
And while the protests were certainly large, the mantra of the 1% is still as follows: I’m sorry, what exactly do you want?
The massive array of anger resulted less in a direct message with explicit demands and more as, “WE’RE ANGRY!” And while that does a lot to direct the attention of cameras, it does little to direct the actions of company leadership.
Because of the inherent disorganization, those with any decision making power in these companies dismissed the movement long ago — if they ever paid it any attention. Wednesday’s protests are no different.
Instead of presenting a clear argument with attainable goals, protesters went for broke and demanded everything from the breaking up of Bank of America into smaller banks, the cessation of all political donations, a halt to foreclosures to an end to funds spent on mountaintop coal.
While all of those are lovely and grounded in logic — though that hasn’t been shown to us by this movement — going for broke isn’t a realistic strategy when faced with shareholders who largely benefit off every single one of the things on the protesters checklist.
For protesters who scream the benefits of political bipartisanship and compromise, they are doing little to see anything from Bank of America’s perspective and their illogical calls for everything to be done “RIGHT NOW!” won’t be believed by anyone — much less those than can actually make the call.
It’s time for this movement to stop carrying around boxing gloves and start mounting a reasonable discourse with clear-cut goals if they want any movement from BofA. But then, I’ve been calling for this for months, so I hold out very little hope.