Santa Monica City Council voted Tuesday evening to divest all City funds from Wells Fargo bank due to their involvement in financing the Dakota Access Pipeline and their other misleading business practices that do not align with Santa Monica policies. The motion was brought forward by Councilmembers Terry O’Day and Tony Vazquez.
“One of the most substantive and symbolic fights for our future is happening at Standing Rock over the Dakota Access Pipeline,” said Councilmember O’Day. “It is a fight over sovereignty and respect for native people and humanity. Wells Fargo is a key lender to the project. Divesting with this institution would take us into the next generation of implementing our values with our business relationships and the way that we invest our dollars.”
Divestment will be completed as soon as is reasonably possible. The City has $1 billion in annual transactions with Wells Fargo, including deposits and payments. The City’s investment portfolio includes $4.6 million in Wells Fargo bonds. Staff will issue an RFP for banking services as soon as it is practical. Finance staff will return to Council with recommendations on a divestment strategy at its February 28 meeting.
“Santa Monica is taking a stand against Wells Fargo because they have repeatedly used deceptive business practices,” said Councilmember Tony Vazquez. “Their investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline is the latest egregious action. It’s our hope that other cities will divest their funds so together we can have a collective and powerful impact.”