FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 5, 2022
Contact: Sarah Lasoff, [email protected], 818-929-8777
Over 35,000 Customers of Wall Street Banks Demand an End to Fossil Fuel Financing
New “Customers for Climate Justice” campaign an escalation of consumer pressure on the major banks driving the climate crisis
Supported by coalition of 200 national groups across North America
New York, NY ― Over 35,000 customers of JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America have added their names to open letters, urging their banks to stop financing fossil fuel corporations. The letters are the launchpad of a major national campaign led by customers and supported by the 200+ member groups of the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition.
“Bank of America may not listen to me as a single customer,” said Ashley Craig, who has been a Bank of America customer for the past 20 years. “But now that we’re more than 10,000 Bank of America customers speaking with one voice, we hope that we’ll get their attention.”
Ms. Craig was part of a team of customers who sent the open letters to the CEOs of the four banks this morning. The customers have requested a meeting with the CEOs to discuss their concerns.
“I was appalled when I learned that my bank is complicit in the climate crisis, and I felt I had to do something about it,” said Brian Forney, a Wells Fargo customer based in Mountain View, California. “I hope that now that over 7,000 Wells Fargo customers have made it clear that we don’t want our bank funding fossil fuels, we’ll begin to see some real changes.”’
Mr. Forney is one of the dozens of customers who have met with their local branch managers to express their concerns directly. He is also one of over one hundred customers who have recently lodged a formal complaint about their bank’s funding of fossil fuels, and one of the thousands who have sent an email or made a phone call to their bank articulating their concerns.
Last year, the International Energy Agency released a comprehensive study into what is required for the global economy to meet the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 1.5°C. One of the IEA’s most important findings is that “there is no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply” if we are to curtail global warming to 1.5°C.
In spite of this, in 2021 alone, Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America provided $47.2 billion to the 100 corporations most aggressively expanding their fossil fuel operations. This doesn’t look set to change any time soon.
Yesterday, Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon, used his annual letter to shareholders to urge the Biden Adminstration to immediately approve additional “oil leases and gas pipelines” as a response to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“People like Mr. Dimon are trying to use the war as an excuse to lock in fossil fuel expansion for decades to come,” said Brian Wilder, a Chase customer of 15 years and one of over 12,000 Chase customers to join the campaign. “But it takes years to build new gas pipelines and deepening our reliance on fossil fuels will only cause more climate instability and make future wars even more likely. My bank should be supporting a massive buildout of renewable energy, not locking us into decades more dependence on fossil fuels.”
JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America are the world’s four largest funders of the fossil fuel industry. The four banks have provided $1.1 trillion in financing to the fossil fuel industry since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 ― close to 25% of all financing that the fossil fuel industry has received from commercial banks, globally.
“Banks are supposed to care about what their customers think,” said Ted Conwell, who has banked with Bank of America for the past 26 years. “And it’s clear that a vast majority of us think that our banks shouldn’t be funding the corporations driving the climate crisis. We hope that they’ll listen to our concerns.”
In April and May, the investors at all four banks will vote on shareholder resolutions urging the banks to align their lending and underwriting business with the actions required to limit global warming to 1.5°C, including ending support for the corporations expanding their fossil fuel operations.
“Investors have a real opportunity to make a difference,” said Doug Woodby, who has been a customer with Citigroup for the past 4 years. “We hope that they will hear our voice and understand: climate action is good for business.”
Interviews are available with customers of Chase and Bank of America.