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Banks And The Broke: Showdown In Chicago Round Up

By aaroncynic in News on Oct 27, 2009 8:20PM

Today wrapped up the “Showdown in Chicago,” a three day long protest aimed at the American Bankers Association conference at the Sheraton Hotel this week. The umbrella organization sharing the “showdown” moniker staged several rallies and actions throughout the loop beginning with a rally on Sunday at the Hyatt. Senator Dick Durbin called out bankers at the rally, saying “We need to ensure that the robber barons that are responsible for this recession don't get away with creating it and then declaring themselves a dividend."

FDIC Chair Sheila Bair, a featured speaker at the ABA conference attempted to quell the angry masses by addressing protesters Monday, saying “Looking at indecipherable credit card statement and documents and mortgages you can’t understand and APRs from Payday Loans and high overdraft fees - I don’t see how anybody can say that we’ve done a good job protecting consumers and financial services.” Meanwhile, Bob Schmermund, executive vice president of the ABA, defended potentially frightened conference attendees by saying “This room is literally filled from stem to stern with traditional bankers whose life’s work is dedicated to serving the needs of their communities.”

The difference between the suits inside the Sheraton and the folks outside was illustrated well by the Huffington Post. Dean Baker reports “the ABA is well-positioned to win the inside game in Congress. They have the team of lobbyists and campaign dollars needed to stay on top of the details of legislation and to press their agenda with Congress.” Protesters at today’s rally in front of the Goldman Sachs offices echoed that sentiment, with loud chants of “Shame on you!” Demonstrators later moved towards the Sheraton to conclude the three day protest. One protester summed up some of America’s economic woes aptly, saying they “started at the top and it trickles down. And it's affecting us pretty hard. And I think the banks are to blame.”