Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the Committee for Better Banks?

The Committee for Better Banks is a coalition of bank workers, community and consumer advocacy groups, and labor organizations coming together to improve conditions in the bank industry. We work for fair banking practices in our communities and just wages, career paths and job security for front-line bank workers. We are fighting to put an end to unreasonable sales goals and metrics that force bank workers to push financial products on consumers that they may not need.

Is the Committee for Better Banks against banks?

We aren’t against banks– we are working to make them better.
Banks hold our pensions and we trust our savings to them. They play an important role in our economy. But right now banks are promoting a business model that is bad for workers and bad for customers. It doesn’t need to be that way. We know the industry can change for the better if we push it in the right direction.

What do members of the Committee for Better Banks do?

Members organize together to change the predatory practices that ultimately impact both workers and consumers. Together as members we create petitions and join in days of action. If you are a bank employee, you get to join other bank employees from around the country to discuss the challenges you face on the job and support each other. If you are a member of the community, you can sign our petition to end sales goals, join us at an upcoming event, make your voice heard.

How are bank customers hurt by predatory sales goals?

Aggressive sales goals force bank workers to sell more loans and credit cards regardless of the need or quality of those financial products. Bank workers are often disciplined or fired for not meeting these goals. These misguided programs create a system where bank workers must implement a predatory system of financial products on our communities.

How do predatory sales goals hurt working class communities in Los Angeles?

Banks derive much of their profits by charging us fees for each transaction or interest on products that workers have to sell. Banks such Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and Regions Financial and are targeting low-income consumers to sign up for things such as prepaid debit cards and payday loans–products that typically come with all sorts of fees and charges, the Times reports. Banks find low-income customers as more profitable for them because they are able to take advantage of the additional fees for over-draft issues and late payments. The customer is simply an income stream and exploiting that income stream has increasingly become the purpose of the banks.

What are SWAPS?

The interest rate swap is a financial contract between the bank and the government, in which a floating rate of interest is swapped for a fixed rate on the issuance of bonds. The purpose of the deal is to allow the issuing government to hedge against interest rates rising and thus save some money. But whether the government—and the taxpayer—comes out ahead or loses the gamble depends on if variable rates rise or fall relative to the fixed rate.

How do SWAPS hurt neighborhoods in LA?

LA taxpayers appear to have lost another $1.6 million on these swap deals as a result of an interest rate-rigging scandal involving a number of banks. The banks conspired to rig an index called LIBOR to which swaps and many other deals are tied. The City of Los Angeles last year spent more on Wall Street fees than it did on our streets. It paid Wall Street $290 million in fees, spending only $163 million on the Bureau of Street Services.

Where is the Committee for Better Banks Active?

We have an active committee in Los Angeles, but we are also a nationwide campaign! We have committees in Minnesota, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

How can I get involved?

Sign the petition and join the Banking with Integrity Campaign.

What is our vision for changing the industry?

Challenge the notion that every consumer is simply an income stream and transform the banks from the bottom-up to ensure that they work for the well-being of customers, bank workers, and our economy.