Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) is bracing for the next installment of protests on the banking sector as the company holds its annual shareholder meeting. Demonstrators are upset with high executive pay, failed mortgages sold back around 2007-2008 and more.
According to E. Scott Reckard of the LA Times, protestors have already gathered and prepared for a rally. Organizers of the rally are predicting 2,000 to 3,000 protestors to rally at the Wells Fargo meeting in the Merchants Exchange Building in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday.
An even more interesting thing to note is that this group of protestors call themselves the “99% Power” and is made up of community, labor and religious activists. They demanded to be allowed an hour during the shareholder meeting to rip the bank’s management and their “selfish ways”. As you could imagine, Wells Fargo denied the request but that didn’t stop the group from adapting to the denial by saying they would block shareholders from entering the building. Today should be a busy day for the San Francisco Police Department if that is the case.
Last year, Occupy Wall Street took the center stage as the main group opposed to Wall Street and other big banks. Since then, we have seen a bunch of spin off groups such as the “99% Power” and “We Are Oregon” take on similar ideals as OWS but maintain independence from OWS.
The protests began as the banking sector revived executive pay to near pre-recession levels meanwhile the unemployment rate still is at high flying levels and foreclosures continue. To a certain extent, I can understand the oppositional movement’s premises however, blocking shareholders from entering a meeting is too far. It is not the shareholder’s fault that these banks have done what they have done so they should not be interfered with.
In addition, since the oppositional movement began there have not been any real changes other than police departments have been super busy. Washington has maintained a neutral stance and has not shown any signs of cracking down on the protestors or on the banks. However, members of Congress have shared their opinions of the protests, mostly negative.
The bottom line is that these protestors are committed to their cause against Wall Street and the banks. However, protesting alone will not change anything because the government does not want to get in the middle of this, understandably. If this type of government response continues, one must ask how much longer these groups will continue to fight the banks.