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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024
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Government—Councilman Stevens urges delay in picking city’s bank

San Diego City Councilman George Stevens recently asked city Treasurer Connie Jamison to hold off on approval of a contract with Wells Fargo Bank for basic banking services.

Stevens, who serves as co-chairman of the joint City/County Reinvestment Task Force, said he is concerned with the recent decrease in reinvestment lending by Wells Fargo in San Diego.

“I am deeply concerned that as major banks become larger and larger they lose their accountability to local communities,” said Stevens, who recently was appointed as the city’s deputy mayor. “We are not experiencing the same level of commitment and cooperation from Wells Fargo Bank that we have in the past.”

According to reinvestment task force data, in 1998 Wells Fargo Bank loaned 10 percent of its locally held deposits for community reinvestment purposes. This included home loans, loans for affordable housing, small business loans in low-income areas, community development loans in redevelopment areas, and corporate giving for housing and economic development.

In 1999, according to the task force, the bank made loans equivalent to 3 percent of its local assets.

The agreement between banks and the reinvestment task force requires providing loans equal to 5.70 percent of assets for community reinvestment purposes.

“I am asking the treasurer to place a hold on the signing of this contract until we can get some answers to some of these questions from the Minneapolis-based bank,” Stevens said.

“The city should not go forward with a major contract without taking the opportunity to discuss their intentions regarding providing banking services to all the residents of this city.”

The city treasurer is authorized to enter into contracts for banking services and to advise the City Council of her decision. As a result of a bidding process, Jamison selected Wells Fargo over four other banks to provide the city’s banking services for the next five years.

Currently, the city uses Bank of America.

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