Encouraged by Indigenous Peoples and Divest LA, city council votes to divest $40 million from Wells Fargo - The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted 14-0 to began the process to divest $40 million from the city’s security investment portfolio with Wells Fargo.
After four months of persistent public pressure from Divest LA, Indigenous Peoples and supporters insisting upon the creation of new ethical banking standards and practices, the city of Los Angeles took a closer step in joining other major metropolitan cities across the United States by divesting from Wells Fargo.
The initial divestment of $40 million is an important first step in untangling the business relationship between the city of Los Angeles and Wells Fargo.
Advocates for divestment had focused on Wells Fargo for opening fraudulent bank accounts, engaging in predatory lending practices and financing destructive non-renewable energy projects, including a portion of Energy Transfer Partner's Dakota Access Pipeline.
The securities divestment follows this week's commitment by the city’s budget and finance committee to explore options for the cancellation of the banking contract with Wells Fargo, to strengthen the Request for Proposal (RFP) process and create social justice components for the RFP process.
"The movement to have the city of Los Angeles divest from Well Fargo stems from the recent struggles at Standing Rock which raised public consciousness about the corrupt and unethical business practices by financial institutions complicit in ecological destruction, treaty violations, and the cultural genocide of marginalized and Indigenous Peoples, in addition it is a small victory for water protectors across mother earth," said indigenous leader Shannon Rivers.
Divest LA organizer Trinity Tran said, “The Divest LA movement is the people’s response to big banks that promote social and environmental injustices. Even California’s own top banker, State Treasurer John Chiang, severed our state’s ties with Wells Fargo for their fraudulent activities. Today, the City took a big step forward in using financial deposits as leverage to ensure our communities thrive.”