On May 15, New Economy Project traveled to JPMorgan Chase’s shareholder meeting in Plano, Texas to direct questions to CEO Jamie Dimon and call on the bank to end its destructive and extractive practices, which have served to perpetuate poverty, segregation, and inequality. Below are the full comments delivered by Juleon Robinson and Andy Morrison.
Comments delivered by Juleon Robinson:
Good Morning. My name is Juleon Robinson and I am with New Economy Project. We are a New York City based organizational shareholder of JPMorgan Chase. With more than 40% of all deposits in NYC, Chase is far and away the city’s largest bank. With almost a billion dollars in public deposits, Chase is also the City of New York’s largest banker, as I’m sure you’re very proud of. But Chase’s failure to provide fair banking access, to invest meaningfully in communities of color, where most of the city’s population lives, perpetuates a long running history of segregation, inequality and poverty. Along with my colleague, we would like to draw your attention to a few ways, among the many, that Chase harms New York City, it’s hometown.
Number One: Despite having far and away the most branches in the city, Chase still redlines low income neighborhoods, neighborhoods of color. Chase has left vast swaths of the city, particularly immigrant and low income neighborhoods of color with few or no branches. New Yorkers living in majority-white neighborhoods have access to nearly three times as many Chase branches as New Yorkers who live in communities of color.
Number Two: Chase’s mortgage lending shows racial disparities at all income levels. Last year, Chase made 62% percent of its loans in majority white neighborhoods, compared to just 15% in communities of color. This pattern holds true in middle- and upper-income communities of color.
Number Three: Chase siphons money from low income New Yorkers through its abusive overdraft program. In 2017 alone, Chase charged U.S. customers 1.86 billion dollars in overdraft fees. If these fees are proportional to deposits, Chase extracted 700 million dollars from NYC residents last year. By definition, this usurious, controversial loan product targets the bank’s customers with the least financial resources, including low wage workers, seniors on fixed income, and students.
I have a question for both of you. Does Chase plan to provide reparations to the communities of color in NYC neighborhoods it has systematically exploited and redlined for decades?
Comments delivered by Andy Morrison:
My name is Andy Morrison, and I’m with New Economy Project. As you heard, we are a NYC-based organizational shareholder in JPMorgan Chase. You heard from my colleague a moment ago, who laid out concretely and factually, three ways in which Chase harms New Yorkers in NYC neighborhoods, through redlining and wealth extraction.
But that’s not all. Chase fails to reinvest adequately in its hometown of NYC. According to the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, among the four biggest banks, Chase has the worst record of reinvestment relative to deposits. Chase also finances NYC’s worst landlords, driving gentrification and displacement in NYC neighborhoods. In 2017, according to a city official, Chase was a top lender to NYC’s worst landlords, landlords which routinely and systematically violate tenants rights, housing laws and building codes, using poor health and safety conditions to displace low-income tenants.
As you’ve heard today from other groups, Chase is fueling climate disaster and endangering NYC’s frontline communities, financing dangerous pipelines that violate indigenous rights, and also finances the company that has proposed a pipeline to carry fracked gas through the Rockaways, a NYC neighborhood. Chase’s actions to bankroll private prisons and immigrant detention centers, which have detained immigrant New Yorkers under Trump’s shameful immigration policies, and subjected them to inhumane conditions. The list goes on and on, and it all amounts to a clear message: Chase to NYC: Drop Dead.
So we would like to ask you again, what does Chase plan to do to provide reparations to the communities of color in NYC neighborhoods that it has systematically exploited. You mentioned earlier in your comments that we must respect each other to make the world a better place. I hope that you’ll respect NYC and appreciate our comments and provide an answer to that question.