Foreclosure Fight Hits Close to Home for Wells CEO Stumpf
John Stumpf, the chief executive of Wells Fargo & Co., had an out-of-body experience this weekend.
Protestors rallied outside his San Francisco home on Saturday, armed with life-size cardboard cutouts of Stumpf inscribed with the unflattering tagline, "Wall St. Robber Banker."
Activists with groups including Occupy Bernal and Occupy San Francisco Housing challenged Stumpf to meet with local residents in danger of foreclosure, part of a larger effort to get a moratorium on home foreclosures until a deal to help distressed borrowers is struck. Stumpf did not make an appearance during the protest, according to press reports.
"We realize who runs Wells Fargo, so we visited the CEO since he's refused to meet with people in foreclosure here in San Francisco," says Buck Bagot, a longtime activist and leader with Occupy Bernal, a group based in the San Francisco neighborhood Bernal Heights. "We've also visited [Stumpf] at his workplace," Bagot adds.
"Some of these people took bad loans and some, if not most, made mistakes. We feel that the banks should have known better and perhaps in fact did," Bagot says, adding that Wells Fargo was targeted because a number of local residents in danger of foreclosure have mortgages with the bank.
Bagot estimates that roughly 150 protestors attended the event on Saturday. The group also staged a faux foreclosure and auction of Stumpf's home.
"You are in default under a deed of trust held by the American people," the protesters' foreclosure notice read, according to the San Francisco Business Times.
"Some people are going through difficult times during this economic recovery," a Wells spokeswoman wrote Thursday in an email in response to a request for comment from American Banker. The bank has held consumer workshops around the country that often "provide a workout that prevents foreclosure for approximately 2 out of 3 customers who attend," she wrote.
But this isn't the first time Occupy protestors have taken their work home with them. Activists in New York staged a "Millionaires March" in October, stopping by the homes of JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief executive Jamie Dimon and others.
And a month later activists planned a drum circle in front of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Upper East Side abode; police barricades ultimately kept them a block or so away. That's called arm's-length negotiation.