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Campaign Updates

12/2/2013 | Holding Wall Street Accountable, Home Defenders League, Restoring Community Wealth

Leveraging New York's financial Power to Combat Inequality - The Report

One New York for All of Us
Leveraging New York's financial Power to Combat Inequality

New York is among the most unequal cities in the US. This inequality has become the most pressing issue in New York City and New York State.

The good news is that New Yorkers are demanding action — and there’s a clear path to real, practical alternatives that can make New York fairer, more livable and more prosperous.

One key set of solutions will come from renegotiating the relationship between New York City government and Wall Street.

New York City and its pension funds control $350 billion that travel through the financial system. That money gives the City the leverage to renegotiate our relationship with Wall Street so that it serves the public interest.

Download the report here.

Key findings:

  • The city and associated entities pay $160 million a year for bad deals with banks.
  • The city, its pension funds, and the MTA pay $563 million in base Wall Street fees each year.
  • New York City and State give banks subsidies worth about $300 million a year, without ensuring that New York City communities will benefit.
  • Because their wages are so low, 39% of bank tellers and their family members rely on at least one public assistance program, at a total government cost of $112 million.
  • During the past 5 years, foreclosures have cost New York City $1.9 billion in expenses and lost revenue.

Key recommendations:

  1. Renegotiate toxic financial deals to save up to $725 million each year.
    • Use the city’s economic and financial leverage to lower fees and interest rates for new and existing financial services
    • Investigate unethical behavior by Wall Street and prosecute fraud to the fullest extent of the law to recover losses
    • If Wall Street won’t negotiate in good faith, bring the functions into the city by creating an in-house financial management team and/or a publicly owned city bank.
  2. Save money and create jobs by holding banks to firm commitments to the community in return for $300 million each year in city subsidies for banks.
  3. Write down underwater mortgages to keep 86,000 families in their homes and stimulate the local economy by as much as $1 billion.