Shareholders Pounce on Predators

Presbyterian shareholder activist William Somplatsky-Jarman testified before the congressional subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit in November that shareholders in financial companies must oppose predatory lending practices and insist that America’s banks make capital available to underprivileged communities. "Shareholders play an essential role in preventing abusive lending practices," he said. "There may be short-term profit for a few from predatory lending, but it pales in comparison to the harm it inflicts upon vulnerable people and society."

The Presbyterian Church (USA), with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, challenged more than 24 financial institutions in 2003 on issues ranging from predatory lending to failure to comply with the Community Reinvestment Act, which requires banks to invest capital in the communities where they do business. The Interfaith Center represents 275 faith-based institutional investors with a combined portfolio worth $100 billion.

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