Outside of Bank of America’s former headquarters in San Francisco, there is a sculpture that locals have dubbed a “banker’s heart.”
The NAACP has come under fire for its “partnership” with cold-hearted Wells Fargo, which is being sued by states and municipalities for discriminatory and predatory mortgage lending practices.
Up until a few weeks ago, Wells Fargo was in the NAACP’s cross hairs.
Now, the “unequal opportunity lender” is in the NAACP’s embrace.
The NAACP agreed to end our lawsuit against Wells Fargo because we successfully negotiated an agreement that improves their practices and increases their transparency in ways that go far beyond what we could win in court. (Click here to read the NAACP's Countering Lending Discrimination Report).
Wells Fargo’s signature on our banking principles - with measures to hold the bank accountable - implement practices that guarantee: (a.) full disclosure of rates, (b.) borrowers will only be offered products they can understand and afford, (c.) no consumer will be targeted based on zip codes and race, and (d.) diversity amongst their suppliers and employees.
Most importantly, the extra transparency allows us to ensure accountability and that the principles are being followed.
If an unenforceable agreement were enough to force a predatory lender to have a heart, there would be no need for financial reform.
And President Barack Obama would not be pushing for an independent consumer financial protection agency.
A White House fact sheet on financial reform and African Americans notes:
Too many responsible African American families have paid the price for an outdated regulatory system that left our financial system vulnerable to collapse and left families without adequate protections. The Obama Administration’s plan will promote financial stability and protect African American families from the unfair practices that contributed to this crisis. The plan will establish a new consumer financial protection agency, which will have the power to set clear rules of the road and ensure that financial firms are held to high standards.
Call me skeptical, but I do not believe the NAACP will be able to hold Wells Fargo accountable. It is axiomatic that he who pays the piper calls the tunes.
BTW, I was called worse by the NAACP’s PR flack. But her defamatory comments merely strengthen my commitment to accountability reporting.
The NAACP’s 101st annual convention will be held in Kansas City, which has a vibrant blues scene. That’s the reason I visited their website to confirm the dates.
I’m a blues lover but “I’d rather drink muddy water, sleep out in a hollow log” before I attend a convention whose lead sponsor has a banker’s heart.