Live from New York: At the Chase Shareholder Meeting

Written by Amanda Starbuck

Topics: Coal

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Hello from New York, where I spent the morning at JPMorgan Chase’s annual shareholder meeting.

It was a packed event. After a year of financial turmoil, from which Chase has emerged as the biggest US bank, people lined up to alternately express their confidence in CEO Jamie Dimon, or to slam the bank for profiteering while so many have lost their homes to foreclosure.

Outside on the streets there were colorful protests from South Brooklyn anti-poverty activists, from the SEIU calling for Chase bank security workers to earn a living wage (the current rate is $11 an hour) and from Reverend Billy and the Church of Life After Shopping, singing rousing hymns about Chase protecting Appalachia by stopping their financing of mountaintop removal (MTR).

I was inside the meeting with a growing coalition who are working together on finance campaign work, including: Responsible Endowment Coalition, Waterkeeper Alliance and Loyola University. We took our turn to raise the issue of MTR, to thank Chase for their recent statement on the topic and to ask them to take it further and stop financing MTR companies altogether.

I asked  Jamie Dimon if he was familiar with the records of Arch Coal, TECO and CONSOL Energy, three companies still funded by Chase.  He replied that he did not know these and that he will be happy to hear more about the specific deals we referred to.

Jamie, a letter is on its way…

9 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. enrico sabatini says:

    Why no commnets? Does anybody care about this issue anymore?

  2. Al says:

    You’re right. Nbody cares about MTR. Most people have better things to do/worry about.

  3. Dodi says:

    6:35am is rather early to already make erroneous comments. THere are hundreds of thousand of people from all walks of life who care deeply about, and who have the courage to act on, and speak about the detrimental consequences of mountaintop removal coal mining. Do not interpret the absence of comments as apathy. The recent statement made by JP Morgan Chase is a move forward. Now more than ever is the time for quiet reflection and strategic thought for next steps. Very good job, RAN.

  4. enrico sabatini says:

    Dodi:I thought about responding to your email but as nobody reads the blog anyway and not many people care about this issue (and certainly nowhere near “hundreds of thousands”),I concluded it would be better to just leave you in blissfull ignorance. RAN is a sham! When will you see beyond your rose colored glasses.

  5. Johnboywalton says:

    enrico: Well I care deeply about MTR, and the fact that Chase are coming out with this means that they care too… or at least care that we care.

  6. Johnboywalton says:

    Al: why don’t you have anything better to do than toll on the RAN site?

  7. GreenGirlNextDoor says:

    Way to go Amanda and Annie and the good folks at Responsible Endowment Coalition, Loyola, and Waterkeeper Alliance! The only way to hold corporations or government agencies accountable for their actions is to make them know that you intend to hold their feet to the fire, which is exactly what you all are doing. Keep up the great work and together we can all bring a stop to mountaintop removal.

  8. JB says:

    1. Many thousands of people read the blog each month Enrico dear.
    2. Hundreds of thousands of people care about MTR, including you obviously- thanks for being first to comment.
    3. As part of a dedicated alliance, RAN has made huge progress with the gov’t and banking sector to reduce support for MTR mining.
    4. I wonder if you’d have the same attitude about RAN if you were living in a place being blown up for subterranean natural resources. Hmmmmm…somehow I think not.

  9. Annie says:

    Thanks, everybody, for the encouraging thoughts! It was really a pleasure to be at Chase Plaza the morning of the shareholder meeting. So many people are impacted by decisions that bankers make on Wall Street. While executives in Manhattan skyscrapers only see the numbers at the bottom line, there are many people who see their communities destroyed by projects funded by banks, whether its predatory lending or destruction from mountaintop removal coal mining. Making sure that shareholders and executives hear the stories from the front lines is really powerful. Chase’s statement on MTR is definitely evidence that they are starting to move on this issue. Thanks to the hundreds of activists and allies that have worked on this campaign!!!

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