Buffalo becomes 7th New York municipality to divest from JP Morgan Chase in protest of the banks foreclosure policies
The city of Buffalo announced it would close its $45 million account with in protest of the bank’s foreclosure policies Wednesday afternoon. City funds will be shifted to a new account at First Niagara Bank.
“I think this move was both a fiscally-responsible, smart decision and also a socially-conscious, community-minded one. The two are not always at odds and I’m pleased that the City will be investing more in a local bank that has demonstrated its faith in Western New Yorkers and a commitment to helping our region grow,” said Delaware District Councilmember Michael LoCurto.
“We hope this move will make JP Morgan Chase take a hard look at their role in the community, and decide to play a more active role in improving conditions in the places that they do business,” said Masten District Councilmember Demone Smith.
The decision is a result of pressure from members of New York Communities for Change, the Occupy Buffalo movement, the Working Families Party and other community and activist organizations.
“My community is suffering at the hands of banks like JP Morgan Chase, who took advantage of homeowners, gamed our economic system and are still reaping the benefits,” said Eddie France, a member of New York Communities for Change’s Buffalo Chapter. “I’m proud that my city has taken a stand on the side of the people.”
Buffalo is the seventh municipality to divest from Chase as part of New York Communities for Change’s Not the Way Forward campaign, which calls on local governments to support struggling New York homeowners by refusing to do business with JP Morgan Chase — one of the state’s worst offenders in terms of providing mortgage modifications.
“We are thrilled that Buffalo has decided to stand up for the thousands of Buffalo residents still reeling from the foreclosure crisis by refusing to do business with JP Morgan Chase,” said Harold Miller, upstate director of New York Communities for Change. “Local governments across the state need to continue to send the message to banks that if you want to do business in our communities, you need to support the interest of our communities and keep homeowners in their homes.”
“It’s time for the big banks to learn that when they take advantage of people, people will fight back. Banks that want to do business with Buffalo should support our community, not drain it,” said Brian Trzeciak, an activist in the Working Families Party and an organizer for Citizen Action of New York. “Today is a proud day for the 99%. I hope other cities in New York and around the nation will be inspired to take action.”
The Village of Hempstead became the first municipality to divest from Chase when it closed its $12.5 million account in April 2011. Since then, the Village of Freeport, the City of Binghamton, Albany County, the Town of Ithaca and the Village of Haverstraw have divested from Chase.