National, State, Local Community Groups Rally Against Too-Big-To-Fail Bank Merger of OneWest and CIT Group at Federal Hearing


Editor’s note: A summary and pictures from the rally are now available.

Feb. 26th- Los Angeles– At a day-long Federal Reserve Hearing starting at 8:00AM, community leaders,widowed seniors, and advocates will testify today that the Federal Reserve should reject the proposed merger of OneWest Bank with CIT Group. The controversial merger, first announced in July 2014, has set a new record for people opposing a single bank merger, with over 21,000 people and 100 local, state, and national organizations opposing it.

At 12:30PM, LA Community leaders, including City Councilmember Gil Cedillo, will join with widowed homeowners facing foreclosure to speak at a press conference and rally.

Paulina Gonzalez, executive director of the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC), explains: “OneWest and CIT Group have mooched billions of dollars from US taxpayers and from the FDIC. And yet, they are here today, asking to grow even larger, into a Too Big To Fail Bank. We’re here today because we’re sick of picking up the tab for these two banks and their mistakes. The Federal Reserve and the OCC need to deny this train-wreck of a merger.”

Roberto Barragan, president and CEO of VEDC, comments: “OneWest is trying to avoid creating a strong and comprehensive community reinvestment plan by making vague promises to increase investments and lending in low-income communities. But it’s hard to ignore 100 community and national organizations and tens of thousands of Americans opposing this merger. It would be a travesty of the regulatory process if the Federal Reserve rubber-stamped this merger. One West should put together a strong and substantial community reinvestment plan commensurate with its size.”

Jane Duong, director of programs and advocacy for the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD), adds: “OneWest Bank’s track record of community reinvestment has historically failed to meet the needs of low-income communities. The bank needs to make publicly available a comprehensive plan that addresses how it will affirmatively lend to and invest in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and other communities of color, serve low-income neighborhoods through its bank branch network and increase its philanthropic investments.”

Consumers available: Affected consumers as well as LA, state, and national advocates will speak at the hearing and at the 12:30 press conference and will also be available for media purposes throughout the day. Advocates will carry large signs at the rally, urging “No More Bailouts”, “OneWest, Stop Foreclosing on Families!”,“Public Benefit, Not Corporate Welfare!” and more.

Additional Background:

Advocates oppose the merger for a long list of reasons, including 35,000 California foreclosures by OneWest Bank during the past six years, a weak reinvestment plan put forth by the banks, troubling foreclosure practices on widowed homeowners, mediocre Community Reinvestment Act grades, and more. For more in-depth analysis, visit CRC’s OneWest/CIT Group Merger Resource Page.