After a busy bank merger season in 2021, the pace continues in 2022. In addition to engaging on megabank mergers, we hope to restart meetings with banks that are not going through mergers. Check out what’s happening below and reach out to find out how to get involved. 

U.S. Bank wants to Buy Union Bank:

CRC and 65 of its member and ally organizations have opposed the proposed merger of U.S. Bank and Union Bank. If this mega-merger gets approved, it would be one of the largest to impact California, and it would become the fourth largest in the state, with $150 Billion in deposits. Capital and Main wrote about the merger recently.

Additionally, we secured a big win this week when the Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency granted our request for public hearings and an extension of the comment period.  We had this to say about the decision to hold public hearings, which are rarely granted. 

We have raised concerns about impending U.S Bank branch closures, mortgage lending disparities to borrowers and neighborhoods of color, the prospect of less investment in affordable housing and other critically needed initiatives, and the banks’ harmful financing of the fossil fuel industry. U.S. Bank needs to commit to a Community Benefits Agreement that obligates the bank to reinvest more than both banks individually so that 1+1=3.

We’ve asked our members to join us on Feb. 17 for a call to where we will answer questions, provide an update on the merger and upcoming public hearings as well as discuss other actions.

Bank of the West to be gobbled up by BMO Harris (Bank of Montreal)

In the largest bank merger of the year, BMO Harris announced plans to acquire Bank of the West. One of the largest banks based in California, Bank of the West has 539 branches nationwide and 229 branches in the state. Of the Bank’s $83 billion in deposits, roughly $60 billion comes from California. Chicago-based BMO Harris has branches in 10 states, but none in California. Nationwide, BMO has $135 billion in deposits between its 544 branches.

BMO Harris has agreed to meet with CRC and our members to discuss a potential Community Benefits Agreement, as part of a national negotiation with NCRC.

CRC, its members and allies will be meeting with the BMO Harris officials and its CEO, David R. Casper, later this month. 

Mechanics bank CRA commitment review

Mechanics Bank, a bank with no current merger (that we know of), has agreed to meet with us to review its performance under our Community Benefits Agreement, which we negotiated when the Bank purchased Rabobank a few years ago. Mechanics has CRA responsibility in the 34 counties in which it has branches, which now includes several non-urban counties in the San Joaquin Valley and elsewhere.

CRC and its members will meet with the bank’s CEO, John DeCeronk, later this month.

By Kevin Stein
Stein is the Chief of Legal and Strategy at CRC, where he has worked for more than 20 years where he leads corporate and policy campaigns, advocates for regulatory and legislative.