Members of the activist group MoveOn gathered in Alamo Plaza on Wednesday afternoon to protest actions taken by Bank of America and other institutions. Protesters identifying with the 99 percent "foreclosed" on the bank and demanded that it pay taxes or change its name.
On the day of Bank of America's annual shareholders meeting, MoveOn groups and allied organizations convened at locations across the country; protesters from central county and the San Ramon Valley foreclosed on the bank's right to use the name America.
"Since the bank pays zero taxes we ask it to change its name to Bank Against America or Bank of Something Else," a release stated. "The bank has billions of dollars of profit stashed off shore to avoid paying taxes, while they have the chutzpah to take bailout money."
Central County MoveOn's Sheilah Fish said approximately 45 people showed up at the bank's Alamo branch wearing red, white and blue and carrying American flags. Protesters played patriotic songs and passed out fact sheets listing Bank of America's injustices.
"It went fabulously, there was wonderful energy and a lot of people honking at us in support," she said.
According to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS in 2010, made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion.
"The beneficiary companies promised to use the funds to create jobs but they didn't. They spent the repatriated profits on re-purchasing stock and on many non-job creating expenditures. That's unpatriotic," the release read.
The foreclosure statement, which protesters handed to an employee to give to the branch manager, stated that Bank of America "has not paid taxes and incurred a substantial debt to the American people between 2008 and today. You have also engaged in uncivil and criminal activity." The group also accused the bank of selling sub-prime mortgages while misrepresenting risks and ROBO-signing foreclosure notices.
"Our goal really is to educate the public about how we got into this predicament we're in and to vote and take stands that bring more accountability to banks an to money in politics," Fish said.