Hundreds gather at Wells Fargo Center to protest bank's birthday

Ryan Fonseca/KPCC

Rachel New tells the media her story after giving her letter to a Wells Fargo representative.

Ryan Fonseca/KPCC

Rachel New holds the card a Wells Fargo representative gave her to contact them with.

Ryan Fonseca/KPCC

An organizer leads protesters in the chant "banks got bailed out, we got sold out!" at the front door of Wells Fargo's building downtown.

Ryan Fonseca/KPCC

Mario Brito, community field coordinator for Good Jobs LA, brings Wells Fargo their special birthday cake.

Ryan Fonseca/KPCC

Protesters cross Hope Street, which is bordered by police, and make their way to Wells Fargo Center


A few hundred people marched on Wells Fargo Center to crash the U.S. banking giant's 160th birthday on Tuesday.

The protest was put on by Good Jobs LA, an activist group with ties to the Occupy LA movement. The group called for an end to home foreclosures by Wells Fargo, which they say leads the nation.

Protesters sang "Happy Birthday" at the bank's front door and chanted slogans that have by now become synonymous with the Occupy movement: "We are the 99 percent," "Si se puede" and "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out."

Protesters alleged that Wells Fargo is not paying their fair share of taxes and that the company "engages in discriminatory and predatory lending," according to a press release.

Rachel New is being evicted on March 21 but says she refuses to move. She brought a letter to Wells Fargo and stood at its skyscraper's front door until a representative came down, received the letter and brought Rachel in to tell her story and plead for Wells Fargo to work out a new deal with her.

"I begged her [the bank's representative] to delay my eviction because I have no place to go. My family has no place to go," New said.

She said the bank told her it was not the property owner, just the trustee. New said she didn't understand why Wells Fargo's name appears on all her court documents if they don't own her house.

"I'm single mom," she continued. "I'm working two jobs trying to survive and trying to support my family. And I have two girls, age 9 and 10. So it's real difficult and it's very emotional right now for me."

Representatives from Wells Fargo were not available for comment.

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