December 2, 2011
Mic check! Mic check!
Occupy NCSU and Occupy Raleigh organized a welcome party Wednesday for John Stumpf, the CEO of Wells Fargo, who, with a salary of $19 million, is the highest paid bank executive in the country. Wells Fargo took over Wachovia during the 2008 banking crisis to become one of the four largest banks in the United States and ranks 23rd in the Forbes 500. Stumpf’s bank sponsors the lecture series at which he was invited to speak.
Demonstrators – including students, community, and union members – stod outside carrying signs that read “Honk if you’re tired of big banks robbing U.S.“, “Get banks out of government“, “America wants to work“, and one highlighting the 20,000 military families who faced foreclosure from banks like Wells Fargo last year.
Occupy supporters were also prepared to bring their protest inside the lecture hall, which was open to students and the public. About 30 minutes into Stumpf’s speech, they started their “mic check” (a group speech where the crowd repeats one speakers’ words to amplify the message).
The mic check was a scathing indictment of Wells Fargo’s greedy, unethical, and even criminal business practices – including illegal foreclosures, high-interest student loans, and investments in for-profit prisons.
The following is a transcript of the mic check (which was also videotaped), and we think it’s worth reading in full.
We won’t take your home
but we will take a minute of your time.
Your leadership has led to
the death of the American Dream.
Wells Fargo is guilty
of widespread predatory lending
And holds over 5.7 billion in student debt.
Wells Fargo targets people of color
And the poor for high interest student loans,
urging loan officers to misreport income and forge documents.
Wells Fargo foreclosed
On hundreds of thousands of homes last year,
Many of them illegally.
Wells Fargo has been fined
85 Million dollars for its crimes,
You have issued no admission
Of guilt or apology.
Wells Fargo took 25 billion
In taxpayer dollars,
The larges bailout in bank history,
Yet reaped 4.1 billion last year
While paying no federal income tax.
You yourself made 19 million last year
Making you the highest paid bank CEO in America.
you invested nearly 100 million dollars
In racist for-profit prisons
While lobbying for harsher anti-immigrant legislation.
You are what is wrong with the culture of Wall Street.
A culture that values corporations
More than rights of “people” with hearts and minds.
A culture that buys politicians
And corrupts our democracy.
A culture that exploits the dreams
Of working class and middle class Americans.
For the benefit of the 1 percent.
Have you no shame?