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ABA convention attracts 5000 bailout protesters
CHICAGO (10/29/09)--About 5,000 demonstrators from 20 states marched on the American Bankers Association convention in downtown Chicago Tuesday to express frustration with the banking industry's lack of transparency and accountability regarding $350 billion in federal bailout money. The protestors included union members, community activists and taxpayers from 48 groups, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the AFL/CIO. The march culminated three days of demonstrations demanding that banks stop lobbying against financial reform, end extravagant executive bonuses and halt home foreclosures that are ruining neighborhoods across the nation, said participants (PRNewswire and The Christian Science Monitor Oct. 27). They also picketed the Chicago offices of Goldman Sachs Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co., and demanded that banks "end their over-reliance on greed and profits, and commit to using their taxpayer bailouts and backstops to help America's economy recover," said an SEIU press release. Attendees at the ABA convention told The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 27) that the anger is misplaced and should not be directed at the group since ABA represents mostly community banks. A spokesperson for ABA issued a statement that said "bankers want smart regulation" and look to the government to fill the "gaps in the regulation of non-bank lenders," said the Christian Science Monitor. The events kicked off Sunday with a gathering of hundreds of individuals who have lost their homes, jobs and pensions during the economic crisis. On Monday, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chair Sheila Bair addressed nearly 1,000 of the group and reaffirmed her support for the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (Reuters Oct. 27).


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