Park La Brea News – June 28, 2017

L.A. City Council discusses divestiture from Wells Fargo - Citing Wells Fargo’s involvement in the Dakota Access Pipeline and its recent account-opening scandal, the Los Angeles City Council took another step toward divesting the city from the bank on Tuesday.

“It’s time for us to endeavor to only do business with ethical financial institutions that have high standards, and ethical standards,” said Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District.

The City Council accepted a Budget and Finance Committee report that lays out the options for divestment from all Wells Fargo holdings. Steps include developing a request for proposal for a different financial institution to handle the city’s banking, and for the Office of Finance to report on the possibility of suspending investment activities with Wells Fargo until the bank raises its Community Reinvestment Act Score to at least “Satisfactory.” It’s current score, determined by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is “Needs to Improve.”

“This is a giant step forward for the city to set the tone and to say that to do business with the city and with city taxpayers, you absolutely must have higher ethical standards than what Wells Fargo demonstrated in the last couple of years,” O’Farrell said.

The effort to divest the city from Wells Fargo began with a motion presented by O’Farrell and Councilman Paul Koretz, 5th District, in March. The two councilmen were also part of a resolution adopted by the City Council last year expressing concerns about the Dakota Access Pipeline and its effects on the Standing Rock Sioux.

“We’re living in a time when we need to pay very close attention to the institutions we do business with,” Koretz said. “Are they on the side of human beings, or are they simply in business to extract a profit at whatever cost, and with no regard for human welfare, the environment or the overall health of the planet?”

Photo by Blair Avery.

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