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Posted on Wed, May 9, 2012 : 11:51 a.m.

Ann Arbor activists target big banks with protest against Bank of America

By Katrease Stafford

In part of a National Day of Action targeting big banks, activists will protest outside of the Bank of America at 201 South Main St. in Ann Arbor at 4 p.m. today.


Ann Arbor resident Quincy Northrup holds up a sign asking for more bank regulation during a protest outside of Bank of America branch on South Main and Washington street in downtown Ann Arbor last November.

Angela J. Cesere |

The demonstration, coordinated locally by The 99% Spring and, will show solidarity for activists who are protesting at Bank of America's annual shareholder meeting today at its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., organizers said.

The activists will feature a "robo-signer," a protester donning a robot costume, to represent what they say is the robotic nature of the bank home foreclosure process.

The protest in Ann Arbor is part of a growing movement calling for fairness. Activists said thousands of Americans are taking to the streets and challenging corporate and political interests they believe have dominated the country. organized a similar event last November at the same Ann Arbor branch. At that event, more than 50 people showed up to peacefully protest for a national effort called Bank Transfer Day. Protesters were urging account holders to move their money out of large commercial banks into small banks and credit unions, which are not-for-profit cooperatives owned by members.

"Today's event is part of a massive mobilization of Americans who are fed up with big banks like Bank of America and their horrendous corporate practices," Lee Gebben, a local member said Wednesday. "We're here to build pressure on the big banks to do more to strengthen, not pillage, the economy. We need an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest 1 percent."


Yakim Smakim

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

I love capitalism! I love democracy! I love free markets! And I love our Constitution's first amendment -- the right to peaceably assemble for the redress of grievances! Americans have a just grievance with our big banks for fleecing us. Stand strong, protestors, and keep up the fight!

Oscar Winters

Mon, May 14, 2012 : 1:26 a.m.

I fully support these protesters and their cause, though I'm not surprised that there are many uppity Ann Arborites who defend Bank of America, as the comments above suggest to me. A demonstration in Ypsilanti or most other towns in SE Michigan would get almost unanimous support.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

Liberals want to talk all around democrat social engineering failures but lack the understanding and/or courage to do so. If you and this quote are correct, where are the arrests of these "evil bankers"!? ….crickets…… …. Eric Holder is running around the country suing states for following the law but THOUSANDS OF BANK OF AMERICA executives walk free!? Does that upset you? Are you mad at the democrats or do you dutifully support THE GOVERNMENT. In 1975 when a young married couple went to get a mortgage, why were they often turned down? Why did most people have to go to several banks before they found one who would lend them the money? WHAT CHANGED IN 1977 until the collapse? Jimmy Carter started this mess in 1977 when he and his democrat stooges decided that "home ownership is a right". Bank of America followed the laws PUSHED THROUGH BY DEMOCRATS. The fault lies with socialist elements of the US government – not with Bank of America for following those laws. The bundling of securities was merely the result of demands by DEMOCRATS forcing banks to loan money to people who had no credit. This was unacceptable so the FM's bought them so in the end, it was the TAXPAYERS who absorbed most of the risk. So libs also miss the fact that if the GOVERNMENT stayed out of the banking business, NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED, but as a result millions would have remained in apartments – that is NEVER OWNED HOMES. This entire mess is the market correcting for massive democrat social engineering FAILURE that began in 1977. Bank of America and the other banks are the victims of those policies even as they made hundreds of billions in sweet sweet profits.

Jason Kosnoski

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

The protestors were objecting to BofA's role in creating the mortgage crisis. Here's Matt Taibbi "The shorthand version of the scam is by now familiar: Banks and mortgage lenders conspired to create a gigantic volume of very risky home loans, delivering outsize mortgages to dubious borrowers like immigrants without identification, the unemployed and people with poor credit histories. Then the banks took those dicey home loans and sprinkled them with bogus math, using inscrutable financial gizmos like collateralized mortgage obligations to rechristen the risky home loans as high-grade, AAA-rated securities that could be sold off to unions, pensioners, foreign banks, retirement funds and any other suckers the banks could find. In essence, America's financial institutions grew vast fields of cheap oregano, and then went around the world marketing their product as high-grade weed." Read the rest here I'm proud that members of my community are standing up for what is right.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

One of the highlights of the event was a lawyer who talked about BoA's systematicilly illegal foreclosure practices. It is not just bloated, greedy, and harmful, it also pays no taxes and steals people's money and houses.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.



Thu, May 10, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

Try a little research, you commenters. "Bad Money" by Kevin Phillips shows clearly, with stats that would be hard to make lie, how the finance sector have taken over the economy. BofA with the rest of them have foisted on the world a crazy ne model of "capitalism" that has nothing to do with funding real, job-creating economic activity, and everything to do with manipulation on an unheard of scale, to enrich a few at the expense of the ordinary folks. "Pillaging" is indeed the word. I do agree, though, that Obama has a share of the blame- he should have mobilized support to put a stop to these practices right at the beginning of his term. Instead he put Larry Summers and Co. in charge, who are part of the Chicago club. Try reading "Vulture's Picnic" by Greg Palast if you want to know what's really going on. Though it will make you realize that even a knight in shining armor with the backing of over 50% of the country would have a very hard time changing things now. And to continue the blame game, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been politely bending over to give immense subsidies to businesses that don't need them, not only the oil industry. Again, reading "Free Lunch" by David Cay Johnston might just show you how it works. Maybe it's because so many Americans dream that one day it will be their turn to take home the big money that they keep on buying the right's propaganda smokescreen.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

Activists? I don't think so. Would be extortionist is more accurate. +


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

So what are they "protesting"? "Horrendous corporate practices"? I see obama's name is carefully missing from their complaints – do they think someone else is the president of the United States? Do they know that many of the 1% ers are obama's biggest campaign supporters buying those $40,000 a plate dinner tickets? are they protesting obama? …if so, their protest is even more confused then ever. How much GARBAGE DID THEY LEAVE BEHIND THIS TIME? Did they break any windows of the local businesses this time?? Are they aware that the kind of debt obama has created cannot be paid by ANY TAX INCREASE ON "THE RICH"? Have they ever heard of "math"? Amazing that during President George W. Bush's administration (our last qualified president), the press was capable of amazing fact checking and analysis but now all they can do is take dictation from cranks and democrat operatives and spew it into these have baked word loaves. As far as Bank of America – would be nice if the "reporter" could ask one meaningful question – like WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!! What corporate practices? What is "unfair" about those who fail to pay their mortgages not being able to live in a house for FREE? Is the contract they signed to pay back the money they spent unfair? Was DEMOCRAT BARNEY FRANK fair when he required BANK OF AMERICA and others to loan money to people with little evidence they could pay it back …but home ownership is a right!? Was BARNEY FRANK AND CHRIS DODD'S SCHEME to separate loans from consequences of those loans a good one? It seems to me these cranks want to protest the democrat party but lack the courage to say so. ...freelance obama campaign worker...

Mark Miller

Mon, May 14, 2012 : 1:06 a.m.

It's dishonest to accuse the protesters of "lacking the courage" to criticize the Democrats. I hate Obama and most of the Democrats, almost as much as I hate the Republicans. And I especially hate the fact that our political system, mass media, and economy are dominated by large corporations whose only interest, by definition, is PROFIT. It's unfortunately true that some liberals hesitate to criticize the Democrats, but they are not the "left."

Mark Miller

Mon, May 14, 2012 : 1:01 a.m. Yes, people who have lost their jobs and been thrown on the street by big banks and financial deregulation have no idea what they're protesting----just as black people in the Jim Crow South had no idea what THEY were protesting against, just as anti-apartheid activists were just protesting for the hell of it, just as war veterans who have seen children slaughtered attend antiwar demonstrations because they're just ignorant or psychologically deviant....This standard right-wing criticism of protesters is as old as social movements themselves.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

You can't fix stupid.......Like most summer annoyances , mosquitos, ants, wasps , nats, the 99%'s and their handlers have come out from under their rocks...enjoy

Top Cat

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

The only thing I can read on the lady's sign is "Vote Obama/Biden". I guess this is really all about supporting 4 more years of trickle up poverty.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

What a lame left wing protest. What happened to breaking the windows at Starbucks?


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

This is a headline story for Something WILL happen at 4:00pm today? Can't wait for tomorrow's story about the 13 people who showed up with signs. Don't like the big banks? Take your social security direct deposit account to one of our local community banks or credit unions. All of them are now well managed and service oriented.

Oscar Winters

Mon, May 14, 2012 : 1:21 a.m.

The protesters whom you so derisively dismiss would certainly support your solution: "take your account to one of our local community banks or credit unions." That's precisely what the protest was about.

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.

Yeah, are the jerks who tried to bounce John Dingell out of office a few years ago with their creepy campaign to smear his good name. No thanks you punks.

Brandt Hardin

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

We must abandon the "love it or leave it" attitude, where the general public has rolled over for Corporate America and accepted it's our job to pay their way. Year after year these companies report record profits so why aren't they paying record taxes? These companies have the power to not only save our economy but to close the income gap by paying employees more but instead they gut the Middle Class for all their worth. Every single protester is a hero in my book and I even helped create some free posters for the cause which you can download from my artist's blog at

Ricardo Queso

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 11:55 p.m.

Let's punish another evil business. The government which taxes and does not create wealth can surely not be the problem. Notice the vote Oafbama-Hairplug on the protest sign?

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

"These companies have the power to.... save our economy"...that is a bit of a stretch. "instead they gut the Middle Class for all their worth. ..." again a bit of a stretch IMO. Sometimes the middle class is their/our own worst enemy. We live on credit, buying things we can't afford rather than do without. "We" use our homes as ATM machines withdrawing equity and buy more home than we can afford on the false notion that they can never stop going up in value.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

"these companies report record profits so why aren't they paying record taxes?" because they take legal advantage of tax breaks given them by politicians. Just like I do, and presumably anyone who files a tax return.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

Screw Bank of America, Protest Big Education! College is out of reach of most people because University's continue to invest in Wall Street, Technology Transfer Offices, receive royalties from patents and give "ILLEGAL" aliens in state Tuition. Come protesters, go after the Real Bad Guys!

Roy Munson

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

The actual shareholders are the ones that should be protesting. That stock is down 40% this year!


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

Roy- just picking on you buddy. protesting is a waste of time though. especially with a major lender the govt. wont risk going out of business. Craig- my hats off to you if you have the time to keep up with the day trading. yes there is a ton of money to be made! you can open up an account now with E-trade and they will put $500 in your account, that alone is enough to buy decent shares in improving stocks. but the day trading is tedious ..

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

its a great time to be a small time trader, with discount brokers. You can buy and sell from your easy chair.

Roy Munson

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 5:43 p.m.

I am a 99 percenter all the way. I cut out some unncessary expenses not too long and came up with the minimum deposit it takes to open a Scottrade account. Today, I have a rate of return of over 250% on my account. Not bad for a lowly 99 percenter. Had I decided to protest instead about whatever cause I felt like protesting at the time, well....


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

tell me about it. but... if you cant pay, don't play. the market is for big boys now Roy, no more nickle and dime family men trying to buy a few shares. . . you also have to have the smarts and know when to dump the stock before it costs you. .

Ron Granger

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

Bank of America bought LaSalle, formerly Standard Federal. Previously excellent service in Ann Arbor branches turned awful. Branches that had 6 or 8 employees were reduced to one or two during layoffs. Those same friendly tellers you got to knoew and always saw? Gone. Financial records were not transitioned into the BoA system and become inaccessible. They gobbled up LaSalle/std fed because it was profitable and to acquire the customers. For the customers, it was a disaster.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

I was never a LaSalle customer nor a BAC customer. But BAC can't "gobble up" anybody who doesn't agree, or is financially failing. So your frustration should be directed at LaSalle who sold out.

Joe Hood

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

One work "resentment," that's what this protest is about. Everyone is suffering with this economy, all 100% of us. Please do something to change this in November.

Mark Miller

Mon, May 14, 2012 : 1:14 a.m.

It won't change in November. It won't change because the wealthiest 1% (or actually, more like 0.1%) dominate both the Republican and Democratic factions of the business party in this country, resulting in what analysts Edward Herman and David Peterson call an "unelected dictatorship of money." Voting for new people can sometimes bring small changes, but the only way to guarantee a decent future for the 99% is to organize ourselves as a community and make the politicians do the people's bidding rather than the corporations'----through public protests, strikes, sit-in's, boycotts, encouraging youth not to join the military, etc.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

"We're here to build pressure on the big banks to do more to strengthen, not pillage, the economy" I'm not sure what the boogie man is here. How is BAC pillaging the economy?

Brit Satchwell

Tue, May 22, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

For authoritative chapter and verse about how BoA and the other major investment houses crashed the world while raking in profits before, during and after... step by step in detail... read "13 Bankers" by Simon Johnson. He used to the be the lead economist for the International Monetary Fund, and now teaches economics at MIT. If you really want the answer to your question, start there... he talks specifically about BoA's role. Then look into how BoA has and is foreclosing on mortgages they don't own... a practice called theft. Believing in boogeymen who aren't there is one thing (childish); refusing to believe in boogeymen who ARE there is quite another (dangerous!)

Mark Miller

Mon, May 14, 2012 : 12:49 a.m. All of you defenders of Bank of America and the 1% should take a look at this article. The truth is pretty clear, if you're willing to see it.

Unusual Suspect

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

That's not important. All that matters is that these people say things that sound profound.