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Holding Wall Street Accountable

Demanding Wall Street be Accountable for Reckless Practices

The banking crisis of the last few years was catastrophic on many levels. Homeownership rates for low- and moderate-income families and families of color have plummeted. Neighborhoods are losing families and home value, further eroding the tax base and causing cities and states to lay off workers and eliminate important programs and services. The banks’ rapacious behavior continues: as cities and school districts try to figure their way out of credit default swaps[1] and other predatory loan obligations, often bank properties themselves receive local tax abatements....

The banking crisis of the last few years was catastrophic on many levels. Homeownership rates for low- and moderate-income families and families of color have plummeted. Neighborhoods are losing families and home value, further eroding the tax base and causing cities and states to lay off workers and eliminate important programs and services. The banks’ rapacious behavior continues: as cities and school districts try to figure their way out of credit default swaps[1] and other predatory loan obligations, often bank properties themselves receive local tax abatements. Hardworking Americans have lost trillions, and current efforts at restitution pale in comparison to the scope of the problem.

The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and our allies are pushing for action by national leaders to hold Wall Street accountable and rebuild home equity and community wealth lost due to Wall Street's recklessness in the financial crisis. As part of efforts to hold Wall St. accountable for the economic crisis it created, CPD has led and staffed the Campaign for a Fair Settlement (CFS), co-founded the Home Defenders League, a membership organization of underwater homeowners and families fighting foreclosure, and worked with national partners like Americans for Financial Reform and grassroots groups around the country to fight for a fair economy and financial system.  

By building strategic pressure with Home Defenders League members, CFS, and our allies, the demand for accountability and restitution became formidable.

In the fall of 2013 a $13 billion federal settlement with JP Morgan Chase was announced that includes $4 billion in homeowner relief, leaves open the possibility of criminal prosecution, and sets a precedent for further settlements and litigation with several other major banks.

The pending settlement with JP Morgan Chase and other state and federal actions comes after more than year and half of pressure--media, reports, education of policy-makers, online activism that engaged hundreds of thousands of citizens, non-partisan civic engagement, grassroots organizing, and bold, non-violent public action. We are committed to ensuring that this settlement will lead to expanded investigations and prosecutions of fraudulent and criminal activity by financial institutions in the packaging and sale of mortgage-backed securities that will win restitution for homeowners and borrowers that is at scale with the level of economic harm inflicted upon them, and will address the lingering damage caused by the foreclosure crisis and mortgage debt.

[1] Riding the Gravy Train: How Wall Street is Bankrupting Our Public Transit Agencies by Profiteering off of Toxic Swap Deals," ReFund Transit Coalition, June 2012, page 4. 

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End Toxic Wall Street Deals and Save Taxpayers $725 Million Each Year

New York is among the most unequal cities in the country. While Wall Street has bounced back from the financial crisis, recording huge profits, most New Yorkers are still reeling from the devastation these very same banks caused.

New York City and its pension funds control $350 billion in assets that travel through the financial system. This money gives the City the leverage to negotiate a relationship with Wall Street that serves the public interest.

The New York City Council has the power to protect our communities by putting pressure on the banks to renegotiate bad deals and end unwarranted subsidies.

Tell the City Council to use New York's financial power for all of us, not just the 1%. Sign your name to end toxic Wall Street deals and save taxpayers $725 million each year.