DivestLA: LA City Council Votes to Divest from Wells Fargo


Los Angeles Divests $8 Billion from Wells Fargo, the latest fallout from numerous scandals and their involvement in financing destructive, climate-fouling fossil fuel infrastructure projects, like the Dakota Access Pipeline. Below is a statement from our allies who led the charge at DivestLA!

Divest LA, Wells Fargo, Los Angeles


VICTORY: City of Los Angeles Votes to Divest from Wells Fargo

Published by Divest LA

In a huge win for Divest LA and indigenous, environmental and social justice allies, the City of Los Angeles voted unanimously on Wednesday, December 13, to approve a banking contract that would disqualify Wells Fargo from commercial banking services. Wells Fargo will be effectively blocked from bidding on the upcoming contract for not meeting the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requirements. The City will also adopt a new 30-point Social Responsibility scoring system for all banks, making it the most progressive Request for Proposal contract in the nation.

The Divest LA grassroots campaign was initiated in February 2017 to advocate for LA City Council to withdraw its public funds from Wells Fargo for their long history of consumer fraud, corruption, and unethical corporate practices. This includes investing in destructive fossil fuel projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline, which violates the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux and threatens the water and lands along its path.

In just 9 months, we took on one of the largest and most powerful banks in the country… and won.

“We need to view the fossil-fuel industry in a new light. It has become a rogue industry, reckless like no other force on Earth. It is Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization.”  — Bill McKibben

The Divest LA campaign is a true testament to people-power in action. To transform our local government on a deep, systemic level, we must learn to out-organize oppressive mega-corporations. Divest LA was not merely about opposing extractive banks and fossil fuel companies. We drafted policies to amend existing banking contracts, we lobbied as citizens and we packed City Council and Committee meetings for months delivering public comment. Divest LA gathered the support of Neighborhood Councils across the City, representing the voices of over 400,000 Los Angeles resident stakeholders. We built alliances with Councilmembers, staffers and City departments, and maneuvered through the legislative system to redirect public funds into ethical financial institutions responsive to the needs of the people.

Evidence compiled by the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and Biosphere (MAHB) at Stanford University suggests the shift toward pushing  fossil fuel divestment enabled previously marginal policy ideas such as a carbon tax and carbon budget to gain greater traction in the debate. It also helped translate McKibben’s radical position into new issues like “stranded assets” and “unburnable carbon,” the idea that existing fossil fuel resources should remain in the ground. — Stanford MAHB

We would like to express our deep gratitude to our incredible team, our allies, supporters and members of the community who have rallied alongside us on this critical mission throughout this past year. We hope this win inspires grassroots activists and organizations around the country. With coordinated public pressure and a solution-focused agenda, people power is a transformational force.

This is the evolution of revolution: innovating legislative solutions to create the society we want and need. And this is only the beginning… the fight continues!

Fossil fuel divestment, Los Angeles, Wells Fargo

Divest LA supporters created a human art formation to spell out ‘DIVEST LA’ at Grand Park in front of LA City Hall.

Up next, DivestLA is launching the Responsible Investment Ordinance to guide the City of Los Angeles’ $1.3 billion investment portfolio into socially and environmentally responsible holdings. And get ready for the Public Bank LA campaign – the ULTIMATE divestment is for the City to divest from ALL Wall Street banks by creating a publicly-owned city bank!

It is time for the people to rise up and take our communities, cities, states and nation back from the oligarchy, and put them back into the hands of the people. Rise and stand together for the people and the planet!


Press and Media Coverage:

Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-banking-ordinance-20171212-story.html

Medium: https://medium.com/@revolutionla/la-city-council-disqualifies-wells-fargo-from-commercial-banking-rfp-81d77d5b5c1f

The Young Turks: Jimmy Dore from The Jimmy Dore Show reports on our #FareWellsFargo rally and press conference, check out his incredible coverage! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aTiJTLJsxE&feature=youtu.be

Susan Sarandon congrats Divest LA and LA City Council: https://twitter.com/SusanSarandon/status/941103869316169729 

Mark Ruffalo congrats Divest LA: https://twitter.com/MarkRuffalo/status/941088249833033729

Shailene Woodley: https://twitter.com/shailenewoodley

Robert F. Kennedy Jr: https://twitter.com/RobertKennedyJr/status/941705819250462720

Councilmember Mike Bonin advocating public banking as the next step: https://twitter.com/mikebonin/status/941153445955768320