Members of Occupy NCSU and Occupy Raleigh, allies of the national Occupy Wall Street movement, targeted Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf in a protest today decrying the bank giant's business practices and role in perpetuating inequality.
Coming 47 days since the Occupy movement kicked off in Raleigh, the "mic check" came towards the end of Stumpf's talk. Wells Fargo is one of the "big four" U.S. banks, ranking 23rd overall on this year's Fortune 500 list of companies with the biggest revenues.
Here's a video of the protest in the auditorium, which was guarded by a large force of local police and private security guards. An estimated 25 students and Occupy supporters were escorted from the lecture.
The protesters attacked Wells Fargo on a variety of fronts, from its extensive student debt holdings to its investment in for-profit prisons. Wells Fargo received $25 billion in federal bailout money from the Troubled Assets Relief Program, leaving the program early to avoid further scrutiny of its practices.
The following is a transcript of the "mic check" or group speech given by the demonstrators:
We won't take your home
but we will take a minute of your time.
Your leadership has led to
the death of the American Dream.
Wells Fargo is guilty
of widespread predatory lending
And holds over 5.7 billion in student debt.
Wells Fargo targets people of color
And the poor for high interest student loans,
urging loan officers to misreport income and forge documents.
Wells Fargo foreclosed
On hundreds of thousands of homes last year,
Many of them illegally.
Wells Fargo has been fined
85 Million dollars for its crimes,
You have issued no admission
Of guilt or apology.
Wells Fargo took 25 billion
In taxpayer dollars,
The larges bailout in bank history,
Yet reaped 4.1 billion last year
While paying no federal income tax.
You yourself made 19 million last year
Making you the highest paid bank CEO in America.
you invested nearly 100 million dollars
In racist for-profit prisons
While lobbying for harsher anti-immigrant legislation.
You are what is wrong with the culture of Wall Street.
A culture that values corporations
More than rights of "people" with hearts and minds.
A culture that buys politicians
And corrupts our democracy.
A culture that exploits the dreams
Of working class and middle class Americans.
For the benefit of the 1 percent.
Have you no shame?