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As Decatur plans RFP for banking services, local group asks city to ditch Wells Fargo

Business Decatur

As Decatur plans RFP for banking services, local group asks city to ditch Wells Fargo

Decatur City Hall
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The city of Decatur next month will issue a Request for Proposal for banking services.

A local activist group, led by resident Scot Hollonbeck, is requesting the city take this opportunity to stop doing business with Wells Fargo, the city’s primary bank. The group has been circulating a petition with nearly 400 signatures that encourages the city to abandon Wells Fargo.

“Wells Fargo loans our money to fund fossil fuel infrastructure projects, such the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL),” the petition says. “We do not want our tax dollars to support the DAPL project.

“Wells Fargo uses our city funds to invest in private, for-profit prisons and has committed fraud affecting millions of customers. After the fraud was exposed, Wells Fargo subsequently fired over 5,000 employees for having followed management orders and no executive leadership were penalized until after congressional inquiry. We consider this to be unethical behavior. We want our city to bank with a business that is aligned with our values!”

City Manager Andrea Arnold says the RFP will be a competitive process and said city staff would make a recommendation about which bank the city should use. She said the city will evaluate the “corporate social responsibility” of banks that respond to the RFP.

“A periodic review of banking services, including the use of an RFP, is a standard ‘best practice’ in local government,” Arnold said. “According to the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), ‘continual changes in technology, treasury management practices, and banking industry structure offer public funds managers opportunities to reevaluate banking services and costs.’ The last time we issued an RFP for banking services was late 2013. The city’s RFP will consider multiple criteria that reflect the needs and values of the city including an assessment of corporate social responsibility.”

In a statement, Wells Fargo noted it has served as the city’s primary bank for over 15 years.

“Awarded the city’s business through the RFP process, we won as the most qualified bank to deliver the complex banking and treasury solutions the city requires,” the company said. “Furthermore, we provide those services efficiently and at a great value for the city’s residents. We look forward to the opportunity to earn the city’s business again. Through philanthropic giving from the Wells Fargo Foundation, Wells Fargo has provided more than $600,000 over the last decade to support local initiatives aimed at helping Decatur residents. In addition, our $6 million NeighborhoodLIFT program in 2018 provided down payment assistance to boost home ownership throughout DeKalb County and surrounding areas.”

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