Nearly 200 demonstrators gathered in front of Wells Fargo Bank’s corporate headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday, blocking the front door to the building and pledging to “foreclose the banks.”
The demonstrators left the Occupy SF site near the Federal Reserve Bank and marched half a mile to the Wells Fargo headquarters in the Financial District. Most were protesting the bank’s predatory loan policies that led to homes being foreclosed on.
Max Bell Alper, an organizer with Unite Here Local 2850, was one of those cited. “My parents owned their home for 25 years, and they lost it,” he said. “They moved in with my uncle, and his home was foreclosed on as well. Right now, my grandma’s home is facing foreclosure.
“It really hurts,” he said. “These banks got bailed out and my family, and countless other families, got kicked out.”
The federal government bailed out the nation’s nine largest banks, including Wells Fargo, under the Troubled Asset Relief Program at the height of the financial meltdown in fall 2008. Wells Fargo, which protested that it didn’t need the help, repaid its $25 billion in December 2009.
Other protesters accused Wells Fargo of taking advantage of people in tough times.
“We hope to send a strong message to Wells Fargo that we are demanding that they stop predatory lending, that they modify loans so that they’re affordable, and respect our basic human right to housing,” said Nell Myhand, 55, of Oakland. She said another bank is threatening to foreclose on her home.
Police arrested and cited 11 protesters, most of them had been released by noon Wednesday.