The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Marcus Mrowka, 202-531-0689

5,000 Converge On American Bankers Association Convention

Taxpayers Launch National Campaign to Demand Banks Stop Lobbying Against Financial Reform During Third Day of Protests in Chicago

CHICAGO, Illinois

the largest mobilization since the economic crisis began, more than
5,000 taxpayers from 20 states marched on the American Bankers
Association (ABA) convention in downtown Chicago today. The public
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

need to continue to demand that big bankers stop using our taxpayer
money to buy politicians and instead use that money to create jobs,
save families from foreclosure, and invest in our communities," said
Service Employees International Union Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger.
"And we need to tell the politicians that we will no longer tolerate
them taking the side of Wall Street and big banks."

march and rally concluded three days of demonstrations around the ABA
convention and launched a nationwide campaign to demand big banks and
Wall Street stop spending millions in taxpayer dollars to lobby against
financial reform.

After taking $17.8 trillion in taxpayer bailouts and backstops,
the ABA and the six largest banks are back to business as usual,
ignoring their commitments to help taxpayers and helping themselves
instead. The largest banks are making tens of billions of dollars in
profits on the backs of the American taxpayers while spending $35
million in taxpayer funds to lobby for more taxpayer bailouts and fight
against reforms that would protect taxpayers from bank abuses in the

ordinary Americans continue to face rising foreclosures, record
unemployment, skyrocketing bank and credit card fees, and vanishing
pensions and 401(k)s. Americans have lost six million
jobs, homeowners have lost $6 trillion in home values and local
governments have lost up to $58.0 billion in annual property taxes.

we bailed out the banks, they were supposed to help people who were
hurt by the economic crisis," said Maria Guerra, janitor at Little
Village Academy. "The banks got our money and they could help people
like me, but they don't even try."

Events kicked off Sunday with a gathering of hundreds of ordinary
Americans who have lost their homes, jobs and pensions during the
bank-induced economic crisis sharing their stories and hearing from
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). That evening, more than 900 people took
their message directly to the ABA at a banker's ball being held at the
ABA convention.

"American families already lost $11 trillion in wealth and every 13
seconds another home goes into foreclosure," said Denise Dixon,
Executive Director of Action Now. "All while the bank bosses live it up
on big bonuses and lavish parties. The banks must be held accountable
for the destruction they've caused in our communities."

Monday, FDIC Chair Sheila Bair addressed nearly 1,000 people and
reaffirmed her support for much needed reforms like the Consumer
Financial Protection Agency. She told the crowd she would deliver that
message when she addressed the ABA convention later that morning.
Following Bair's remarks, taxpayers took their message directly to the
banks at demonstrations outside of Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and the
ABA convention.

Groups participating in the three days of mobilizations include:
A New Way Forward, AFL-CIO, Action Now, Albany Park Neighborhood
Council, Alliance to Develop Power (ADP), Americans for Fairness in
Lending, Americans for Financial Reform, ARISE Chicago, Brighten Park
Neighborhood Council, Central Illinois Organizing Project (CIOP),
Center for Community Change (CCC), Change in Terms, Change to Win,
Citizen Action, Chicago Coalition of the Homeless, Communities United
for Action (CUFA), Community Voices Heard (CVH), Contra Costa
Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO), Grassroots
Collaborative, Green Party of Nevada, Fuerza Laboral/Power of Workers,
Illinois Hunger Coalition, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement,
Jobs with Justice, Gender Just Metanoia Centers, Inc., Michigan
People's Action (MPA), MoveOn, National People's Action, Northside
Action for Justice, Northside POWER, Northwest Bronx Community &
Clergy Coalition, People Organized for West Side Renewal (POWER), PUSH
Buffalo, Right to the City Alliance, Rights for All People (RAP),
Roomdad Productions, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), SEIU
Illinois State Council, SOUL, South Austin Coalition Community Council
(SACCC), Sunflower Community Action, Syracuse United Neighbors (SUN),
Teach Our Children (TOC), The Grassroots Collaborate, UE, UCLA
Undergraduate Students Association, Workers United, and Working In
Neighborhoods (WIN)