“Move that money!”

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“Bernadeia, we’re here to see ya. It’s not funny, move that money!” and “Schools got bailed out, schools got sold out.” Those were among the chants heard on the ground at rush hour Tuesday, Oct. 11 outside 807 Broadway Street NE, the Minneapolis Public Schools district headquarters.

Car drivers and truckers honked, kids on bicycles looked on as Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) demonstrators with signs got ready to take their allotted 10 minutes during “delegations” time at 5:30 p.m. on the school board agenda. Their point: Ask the district to move its deposits and banking business out of Wells Fargo into what they say are more community-friendly financial institutions.

Their literature claims that Wells Fargo foreclosing on homes in Minneapolis, particularly in North Minneapolis, cost the district $150 million in per-pupil state money as families lost their homes in the district. Preparing remarks, one of the organizers reminded the group “we want to get money for the school district.”

Anthony Newby told the board the group met with other banks to make sure they were suggesting good options. One is Bremer Bank, where profits fund the Otto Bremer Foundation that returns money to the community; and also local member-owned credit unions.

The Uptake reported that later in the meeting, school board member Alberto Monserrate said, “The NOC report brings us concern about U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo’s role in the mortgage crisis and Minneapolis Public Schools’ relationship with those banks. Members of the board have engaged our district leadership on this issue and will work on addressing those concerns. …

“I do think the fair thing to do would be to ask U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo questions that we have gotten from our community about their role in the mortgage crisis. It’s important to me that MPS uses vendors that act in the best interest or students, our schools and our community, and that reflect our values. I look forward to hearing U.S. Bank’s and Wells Fargo’s point of view on what happened and answers to those questions. … I look forward to finding out more information that will help us make responsible decisions.”