Campaign Update: November 7, 2017
On November 6th, the Budget and Finance Committee held a public hearing to discuss amendments to the city’s Responsible Banking Ordinance and a draft five-year master banking Request for Proposal (RFP). The contract would pay banks more than $15 million in taxpayer money in service fees.
Bank workers, consumer advocates and LA residents who are members of the Committee for Better Banks (CBB) and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) descended on City Hall to demand that councilmembers take immediate action and end predatory practices like high-pressure sales goals with any bank that does business with the city. As a result of the discussion, a tougher ordinance will be brought back for public discussion on Monday, November 27th.
Lobbyists, Politicians Push Back on Commonsense Banking Reform
When the RBO amendment was released by the City Attorney on November 3rd, we were disappointed to find that sales goals were not mentioned in the RBO amendment. In November 2016, Councilmembers introduced an amendment to the RBO that would protect consumers and bank workers from predatory sales goals. However, in the past year, big banks and their lobbyists have been out in full force in the halls of City Hall, meeting with Councilmembers, the Mayor and City Attorney—and urging them to support toothless measures that address responsible banking in name only.
Councilmember Nury Martinez Takes on Sales Goals
We reached out to allies on the City Council to inform them of an opportunity to incorporate real protections for consumers and workers with the banks that contract with the City of Los Angeles. Councilmember Nury Martinez responded by sending a letter to the Budget and Finance Committee asking that both items be delayed until they incorporate language that will address predatory sales goals in the RBO and banking service RFP. You can read the letter here.
Banks use sales goals to pressure bank workers to target the most vulnerable in our community just to meet their quota, with a focus on immigrants and low-income customers in our communities. Councilmember Martinez represents one of the districts hardest hit by bank’s predatory practices, including sales goals. By standing up for real reform, she is stepping up to protect her constituents and hold the banks defrauding our communities accountable.
Consumers and Bank Workers Demand that Sales Goals be Addressed in the RBO and Bank Contracts
The Committee for Better Banks and Association of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) mobilized consumers to speak during public comment at the Budget and Finance committee hearing. Consumers and advocates testified that banks specifically target low income communities of color by pushing unnecessary products on vulnerable customers.
The Committee Chair concluded the discussion by requesting that the City Attorney and Finance Department incorporate Councilmember Martinez’s language and report back on what measures other cities nationwide are enacting regarding sales goals in banks. The item will be brought back to the Budget and Finance Committee on Monday Nov. 27th.
We want to thank all who called or emailed the LA City Council, Mayor and City Attorney to urge them to take on the issue of sales goals with the banks that contract with the City of Los Angeles. We will contact you soon to let you know how you can help us secure a vote to prohibit predatory sales goals in LA banks.