By Stephen C. Webster
A group of senior citizen activists calling themselves “Wild Old Women” staged a protest at a San Francisco Bank of America branch this week and succeeded in causing the business to close its doors, albeit temporarily.
The Bank of America in Bernal Heights, a district of San Francisco, was confronted by the activists on Thursday afternoon, according to KCBS radio reporter Doug Sovern, who was on the scene.
The women were ages 69 to 82, and they stood on a sidewalk holding signs that demanded lower fees, higher taxes for the wealthy and a freeze on foreclosures. The bank locked its doors as soon as they arrived, Sovern noted.
“We’re upset about what the banks are doing, particularly in our neighborhood and neighboring areas, in evicting people and foreclosing on their homes,” one of the activists was quoted as saying. “We’re upset because the banks are raising their rates because it really affects seniors who are on a fixed income.”
The protest is just the latest in a growing number of direct actions targeting major American financial institutions, which have drawn the public’s ire for their role in the 2008 financial collapse, triggered by predatory loan practices and the widespread selling of debt-backed securities.
People who have participated in the “Occupy” movement have frequently targeted banks over their participation in widespread foreclosure fraud, where delinquent homeowners have been evicted with paperwork rubber-stamped by companies that essentially automated their process through a technique known as “robosigning.”
Protesters around the country have taken to occupying homes ahead of planned foreclosures, setting up very public stand-offs with bank representatives and civil authorities in an effort to protect some from becoming homeless.