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Indigenous Leaders, Land Defenders Censored At RBC’s Annual Meeting

Indigenous leaders and land defenders attended Royal Bank of Canada’s 2024 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on April 11 to send the bank their message: put an end to fossil fuel financing. Delegates from across North America travelled to Toronto, O to criticize RBC’s ongoing funding of fossil fuel projects and their violations of Indigenous and human rights. But RBC’s efforts to listen to Indigenous and frontline land defenders were shallow to say the least. During the questioning period, a mere 60 seconds were allotted to delegates, some of which were interrupted by RBC’s board, executives and shareholders.

The Fed Is Behind The Credit Card Merger

It’s an obvious point, but credit cards in America generate a lot of cash for banks. In 2022, I wrote up how the business works, with the observation that the industry generates close to a quarter trillion dollars a year in revenue. This revenue comes from fees for connecting merchants and banks, as well as fees charged to consumers for access to credit. Every credit card network is also a data sieve, connected to advertising data brokers, anti-fraud features, and analytics firms. In addition, being able to reject someone from the payments system is a core sovereign power, and the stated reason the right is so afraid of a central bank digital currency.

Defusing The Derivatives Time Bomb: Some Proposed Solutions

This is a sequel to a Jan. 15 article titled “Casino Capitalism and the Derivatives Market: Time for Another ‘Lehman Moment’?”, discussing the threat of a 2024 “black swan” event that could pop the derivatives bubble. That bubble is now over ten times the GDP of the world and is so interconnected and fragile that an unanticipated crisis could trigger the collapse not just of the bubble but of the economy. To avoid that result, in the event of the bankruptcy of a major financial institution, derivative claimants are put first in line to grab the assets — not just the deposits of customers but their stocks and bonds. This is made possible by the Uniform Commercial Code, under which all assets held by brokers, banks and “central clearing parties” have been “dematerialized” into fungible pools and are held in “street name.”

Actions Against Mountain Valley Pipeline During Days Of Solidarity

Beginning on January 29, people across Turtle Island rose up to oppose and fight back against the Mountain Valley Pipeline and its funders, investors, contractors, and collaborators. Folks around the country took autonomous action, organized in their communities, and showed solidarity with pipeline resistance, as well as with comrades facing state repression in Atlanta, and with the people of Palestine.  In the days that followed, organizers stood in solidarity with MVP resistance from hundreds of miles away, rallying outside of the offices of EQT and PNC bank in Pittsburgh, outside of Washington Gas (WGL) in D.C., and outside of Bank of America in Charlotte, and Wells Fargo in San Francisco, Blacksburg, Richmond, and other locations.

Why Mainstream Economics Got Inflation Wrong

Austin - In his November 7, 2023 New York Times newsletter, the economist Paul Krugman asks a good, albeit belated, question: Why did so many economists get the inflation outlook wrong? After all, the near-consensus among mainstream economists in recent years was that inflation would persist – and even accelerate – and that this justified substantial interest-rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve. Yet the quasi-inflation of 2021-22 proved transitory. Krugman poses his question with impeccable diplomacy, professing “respect” for three authors of a September 2022 paper published by the Brookings Institution (which was then promoted by Harvard University’s Jason Furman) projecting that it would take at least two years of unemployment at 6.5% to bring inflation back to the Fed’s self-imposed 2% target.

More Banks To Fail? Not In North Dakota

U.S. banks are again in the crosshairs. Standard and Poor’s has downgraded five new middle-tier banks and put three others on negative outlook. This follows sweeping downgrades earlier in August by Moody’s, which cut credit ratings on 10 banks and placed four of the 15 largest U.S. banks on review for possible downgrade. As with the banks going into receivership earlier this year, concerns include interest rate risk due to unrealized losses from long-term securities. Meanwhile, the U.S. government itself has been downgraded by Fitch Ratings, which questions the government’s ability to finance its nearly $33 trillion federal debt.

Protest: Federal Reserve Ignoring Systemic Climate Financial Risks

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City hosted its 45th annual Economic Policy Symposium titled “Structural Shifts in the Global Economy” in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, starting on Thursday, August 24, 2023. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell addressed the symposium on Friday and over 100 other central bankers, federal reserve officials, academics, media, financial organizations, international counterparts, and government regulators were also in attendance. One notable major topic has been omitted from the materials released so far: addressing systemic climate financial risk. Compared to global peers, Chair Powell and the Federal Reserve have been laggards in addressing systemic climate financial risks, putting workers, businesses, and the economy at risk.

Four-Fifths Of Board Members At Top Six US Banks Are Climate Conflicted

Four in five bank directors at the six largest banks in the U.S. have ties to polluting companies and organizations, including major fossil fuel companies, according to a new DeSmog analysis. The research raises fresh concerns about the extent of anti-environmental influence inside some of the nation’s most powerful boardrooms at a time when campaigners are pushing the banks to enact stronger environmental policies at their annual shareholder meetings. It reveals that 82 percent of board members at these six banks currently hold or have held positions with climate-conflicted organizations.

Environmental Racism And Corporate Colonialism Revealed At Canadian Bank

Thanks to Canadian BDS Coalition member, Human Rights for All,  for their solidarity  at the Royal Bank of Canada's Annual General Meeting (RBC AGM) on April 5, 2023, in Saskatoon. With vehicular access blocked and two snipers on the roof, at least 150 environmental and Indigenous  rights activists rallied in front of the Delta Bessborough Hotel in  Saskatoon where RBC was holding their AGM. They were there to protest against RBC’s putting  99% of their energy investments in fossil fuels. Since the Paris climate agreement was signed, RBC has provided over $270 billion to fossil fuel companies, with last year representing a 45 per cent increase in fossil fuel funding from the year before.

Canadian Bank RBC The Number One Financier Of Fossil Fuels

Released today, the 14th annual Banking on Climate Chaos report is the most comprehensive global analysis on fossil fuel banking. Endorsed by 624 organizations from 75 countries, it reveals the truth of banks’ commitments to the climate by examining their financing of the fossil fuel industry. For the first time since 2019, a Canadian bank is the #1 annual financier of fossil fuels rather than US bank JP Morgan Chase. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) showered fossil fuel projects with $42.1 billion dollars in 2022, including $4.8 billion for tar sands and $7.4 billion into fracking. Canadian banks are becoming the banks of last resort for fossil fuels, providing $862 billion to fossil fuel companies since the Paris Agreement.

Why Did Chase Bank Cancel This Cop City Protester’s Accounts?

Teresa Shen, a 31-year-old therapist living in Brooklyn, checked her mailbox earlier this month and found some perplexing correspondence from Chase Bank, the consumer banking branch of JPMorgan Chase, where she'd been a customer for more than decade. The letters, dated March 7, had surprising news. "One letter said that they were closing my checking and savings accounts," Shen recalled. "Another said they were closing my credit card." Just why Chase was closing Shen's accounts wasn't immediately clear from the letters, which said only that the bank was taking the step "due to a publicly reported financial investigation."

US Mega-Banks Behind 1/3 Of Climate-Destroying Oil And Gas Expansion

Wednesday is Finance Day at COP27, the United Nations climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, and the advocacy group Rainforest Action Network published a report exposing how major U.S. banks are financing hundreds of billions of dollars worth of fossil fuel projects—even as they tout their purported commitment to a low-carbon future. "The world's climate and energy scientists have set forth a clear mandate: In order to maintain a livable planet and prevent the global average temperature from increasing more than 1.5°C, we must rapidly and dramatically decrease greenhouse gas emissions," the RAN report—entitled Wall Street's Dirtiest Secret: How Fossil Fuel Expansion Depends on Big Bank Finance—states.

Wall Street Lobbyists Admit Big Banks Don’t Plan To Honor Climate Pledges

A trade association that lobbies on behalf of the largest banks in the United States told regulators that their members’ pledges to reduce investments in carbon-emitting industries are “aspirational,” implying that they shouldn’t be taken seriously by authorities. The Bank Policy Institute made the remarks in public comments on guidelines proposed earlier this year by federal bank regulators, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), on climate-related risk management. Specifically, the lobbying group rejected the notion floated by the agencies that regulations should ensure banks’ greenhouse gas commitments to the public “are consistent with their internal strategies and risk appetite statements.”

How Activists Are Making The Right To Housing A Reality

Apryl Lewis is in a housing fight — again. This time, she is pushing to keep dozens of families from being put out of a Charlotte extended-stay motel that is scheduled to be shut down in a matter of weeks. Such motels cost as much as $500 each week, expensive compared to long-term housing. But many of these families are living paycheck-to-paycheck or on fixed incomes, and have no other option. “They can’t afford the move-in costs for an apartment,” Lewis said. “Landlords want up-front rent and utilities and a security deposit. Now they are even making people pay for rental insurance.” Others stay at the motel because they are shut out of traditional housing due to a past eviction or criminal record. Some simply can’t find a suitable place to live in a time when rental vacancies are at historic lows.

Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs Confront Royal Bank Of Canada

Despite abruptly canceling the in-person portion of their  annual general meeting (AGM) today, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) faced growing calls to phase out coal, oil, gas, and tar sands funding, and instead invest in a safe, and renewable future.  Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and climate finance experts asked the RBC Board and management about their role in violating Indigenous rights by bankrolling projects that perpetuate genocide against Indigenous Peoples, such as the Coastal GasLink pipeline, as well as the role of RBC’s fossil fuel financing contributing to the climate crisis. Melina Laboucan-Massimo, the co-founder of Indigenous Climate Action, spoke to  shareholders about how RBC’s financing of the tar sands has detrimental impacts to her homelands, the health of Indigenous people on their territory and to the climate.
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