Easy Action, Big Ripples – time for Oregon to join in!

April 23rd, 2014

Below is a message from ROP Founder, Marcy Westerling and long-time ROP wise thinker and local leader, Mike Edera. Join us on Saturday, May 3rd at the Rural Caucus & Strategy Session in Hood River to talk about ‘Foreclose on Wells Fargo’ and other home defender strategies.

Dear ROPnetters,

Here is a question:

What do hundreds of immigrant hunger strikers at the Northwest Detention Facility in Tacoma have in common with an 80-year-old woman fighting wrongful foreclosure in Tualatin?


Their misery was made possible by the financing of Wells Fargo, the USA’s most profitable bank. 69 cities in Oregon have Wells Fargo branches – find yours here: http://www.bank-locations.com/bank/list_state/4/Oregon-OR/Wells-Fargo-locations

On April 29, Wells Fargo will be celebrating at its shareholders meeting in San Antonio, TX. Wells Fargo’s profit comes at the expense of our communities because among other things, the bank:

1.  Abuses customers seeking mortgage modifications leading to needless foreclosures. Not only is Wells Fargo well known among distressed homeowners as the hardest bank to deal with when trying to modify a mortgage or even correct the bank’s own mistakes but it has actually made the filing of fraudulent foreclosure documents a part of company culture – to the point of writing a how-to manual for bank execs: Wells Fargo Accused of Writing Fraud Manual.

2.  Practices racial discrimination and targets  communities of color for faulty mortgages. Wells Fargo has been fined tens of millions of dollars because of their discriminatory practices of targeting communities of color for predatory loans:
Wells Fargo Fined $175 million for racial discrimination.

3.  Invests in private prisons that perpetuate a broken immigration system. Wells Fargo is a major shareholder in Corrections Corporation of America – the nation’s largest private prison operator, and in the GEO Corporation, which operates the Northwest Detention Facility, where over a hundred immigrants, detained prior to deportation, have held hunger strikes since March in order to protest intolerable living conditions: prison divestment campaign/

On April 28th and 29th, home defenders, students, community groups, and families around the country will take peaceful action to tell Wells Fargo these predatory practices have to stop: Foreclose on Wells Fargo.

Human Dignity Group members and ROP supporters can join these Days of Action – even small steps will have a large impact. A word about “impact”: ROP’s impact is generated not by doing big, difficult actions, but by taking many small steps that add up – because ROP is a state-wide rural network. When actions happen across Oregon, originating in rural communities – power brokers take notice.

Write you legislator with a copy to your local newspaper and tell them that Oregon must divest its holdings in Wells Fargo, as well as Corrections Corporation of America. You might even want to drop your letter off to your local Wells Fargo branch manager – 69 cities in Oregon have Wells Fargo branches. http://www.bank-locations.com/bank/list_state/4/Oregon-OR/Wells-Fargo-locations (By the way, some of the demands are for worker’s rights with in Wells Fargo – the local staff might appreciate knowing community activists care about their working conditions. Note this demand:

END EXCESSIVE SALES GOALS FOR BANK WORKERS: Wells Fargo employees are under extreme pressure to sell financial products that don’t meet customers’ needs in order to achieve high sales goals and maximize profits. Wells Fargo should reduce exorbitant sales goals, trust team members to sell financial products that are appropriate for their clients and cease punishing employees for treating customers responsibly and ethically.)

The Oregon public retirement fund – PERS – owns $ 1.1 million worth of CCA stock, and over $34 million in Wells Fargo stock. Wells Fargo itself owns over $34 million in CCA stock and over $22 million in GEO stock – the company that operates the Northwest Detention Facility and abuses immigrant detainees.

Dear (Representative/Senator)

I am writing you to demand that our state of Oregon divest it’s holding in Wells Fargo stock. Currently the PERS system holds over $34 million in Wells Fargo stock. Wells Fargo has been repeatedly convicted of racial discrimination in its lending practices. Recent internal documents reveal Wells has engaged in systematic fraud in its foreclosure actions. Finally, Wells Fargo is a major investor in private prisons through both the Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Corporation. Since March, immigrant detainees have been engaging in hunger strikes at these private prison facilities, including the Northwest Detention Facility. They are protesting inhuman conditions and mass deportations.

I do not want my tax money used to profit from human misery and fraud. Divest all of Oregon’s Wells Fargo holdings, as well as the $1.1 million in CCA stock also in the PERS portfolio. And please don’t tell me that dealing with PERS is not you department. Find a way.

Regards, a local human dignity activist

Find your legislator here:

Find you local newspaper here:
And stay tuned for more information on how the ROP will be adding an easy feature on it’s website to allow local human dignity groups to spread the word about foreclosure relief for individual homeowners by creation of one stop petitions that allow everyone to say “NO”! Where individual homeowners gather community support, foreclosures stop.