The installation of a new branch of Chase Bank on Divisadero Street at Oak Street has spawn at least one hyper-local offshoot of the greater Occupy Sf and Occupy Wall Street movements. As Haighteration reports today, the Occupy SF-adjacent protest group Occupy 401 Divis has sprung up to speak out against the crimes Chase Bank, and the new branch location in particular, has dealt against the neighborhood and local customers California. As with the larger movement, Occupy 401 Divis wants some action from the part of the bank and are prepared to protest, occupy and boycott until their demands are met. Even if their list demands might seem a little lofty for a plucky neighborhood group:
- Chase must pay the taxes it avoided paying on its profits in 2010 (a grand total $1.988 billion dollars).
- Chase must refinance mortgages for all California borrowers who are current on their payments but owe significantly more than their homes are now worth.
- All San Francisco Chase branches must reverse their February 2011 policy of charging a monthly fee to people with balances under $1500 (aka those who can least afford an additional fee).
- Chase will provide $3 million in funding (with no strings attached) for a community project to restore the Harding Theater for use as a multi-use community facility.
Aside from their opposition to Chase's toxic lending practices, the group also believes the new branch at Oak and Divisadero didn't receive the proper input from the community, as it was deemed exempt from the city's formula retail ordinance. The group is also sore that the new bank branch will be (ahem) occupying the former home of two neighborhood business — a cheese shop and a truffle store. Both business were moved out legally, but the group feels the loss of those two retailers adversely affected the community, hence the demand that Chase be responsible for an unrelated development project in the neighborhood.
For their part, a Chase spokesperson responded with a lengthy list of community efforts the bank has been involved in, including sponsoring a neighborhood block party and supporting arts and sciences at McKinley Elementary school just up the street.