It was a packed event. After a year of financial turmoil, from which Chase has emerged as the biggest US bank, people lined up to alternately express their confidence in CEO Jamie Dimon, or to slam the bank for profiteering while so many have lost their homes to foreclosure.
Outside on the streets there were colorful protests from South Brooklyn anti-poverty activists, from the SEIU calling for Chase bank security workers to earn a living wage (the current rate is $11 an hour) and from Reverend Billy and the Church of Life After Shopping, singing rousing hymns about Chase protecting Appalachia by stopping their financing of mountaintop removal (MTR).
I was inside the meeting with a growing coalition who are working together on finance campaign work, including: Responsible Endowment Coalition, Waterkeeper Alliance and Loyola University. We took our turn to raise the issue of MTR, to thank Chase for their recent statement on the topic and to ask them to take it further and stop financing MTR companies altogether.
I asked Jamie Dimon if he was familiar with the records of Arch Coal, TECO and CONSOL Energy, three companies still funded by Chase. He replied that he did not know these and that he will be happy to hear more about the specific deals we referred to.
Jamie, a letter is on its way…