Portland Business Journal by Matthew Kish , Business Journal staff writer
Date: Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 10:00am PDT – Last Modified: Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 2:40pm PDT
- Business Journal staff writer -Portland Business Journal
This story has been updated from its original version.
A group of Wells Fargo shareholders wants the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to force the bank to hold another annual meeting.
The San Francisco-based bank’s annual meeting last month was disrupted by protesters who were eventually removed from the meeting. Twenty-four people were arrested, according to Bloomberg.
Some of those protestors — and others who weren’t allowed into the meeting — say they own shares of the bank. Since they didn’t get a chance to participate in the meeting, they want the SEC to nullify it and force the bank to meet again, according to acomplaint they delivered to the SEC on Tuesday.
They also want the attorney general in Delaware, where Wells Fargo is incorporated, to look into the matter.
As part of the effort, protestors rallied outside Wells Fargo branches in several cities Tuesday, including eight protesters at a Portland branch at 3625 S.E. Cesar Chavez Blvd.
The protesters at the Southeast Portland branch tried to deliver a copy of the complaint to the bank’s manager but they were not allowed into the bank.
“It’s kind of astounding that Wells Fargo is so obdurate,” said Katy Riker, one of the protestors and a Wells Fargo shareholder. “It’s ridiculous that the branch manager wouldn’t accept it.”
A spokesman for Wells Fargo said the bank’s policy is not to allow protestors into its branches because in the past protestors have disrupted business.
The protestors want to hold Wells Fargo “accountable for its destructive business practices” and its role in the housing and economic collapse, according to a news release.
“Wells Fargo’s actions at their shareholder meeting demonstrate what communities across this country have been experiencing for years: Wells Fargo is indifferent to the havoc they are wreaking in our communities and they do not want to be held accountable,” said Reverend Geoffrey Nelson Blake of the San Francisco Organizing Project, a Wells Fargo shareholder, in a news release.
Ancel Martinez, a spokesman for the bank, said shareholders always have an opportunity to speak at the annual meeting. He said the shareholders who were removed did not listen to directions and were chanting at the beginning of the meeting before it was time for audience comments.
“They have the right to express their opinion, but it’s Robert’s Rules of Order,” he said. “They were explicitly told they were out of order.”
Martinez said a protest outside the bank also prevented some shareholders from getting into the meeting.