Star Tribune. July 13, 2012
The bank favored by a coalition of neighborhood and labor activists, Bremer Bank, finished well behind the two bigger banks on the district's criteria. Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) and the Service Employees International Union Local 284 had argued that the big banks had bad foreclosure records and that their leaders had opposed state tax increases that could help finance schools. The staff recommendation made no mention of foreclosures. Activists said that Bremer also was a more active lender to small businesses.
Still, activists applauded the shift away from Wells Fargo, which it was disclosed this week has agreed to pay $175 million to settle federal allegations of systematic lending discrimination against black and Latino borrowers. "There is no doubt that Wells Fargo has a long history of turning its back on our communities and it is time that the Minneapolis Public Schools and other such entities stop doing business with them," said NOC Chair Sunday Alabi. NOC Executive Director Steve Fletcher said shifting from one bank giant to another illustrates the consolidation of power in banking.
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