Point Dume B of A Vigiled by Local Critics
• Corporate Security Told Malibu Bank Branch to Lock Its Doors for Six Hours
BY ANNE SOBLE
Eleven area residents took part in a peaceful vigil in front of the Point Dume branch of Bank of America last Wednesday to express solidarity with similar actions at over 200 branches of Bank of America throughout the country, as well as at the bank's shareholders meeting in South Carolina.
The participants held up hand-lettered signs that included such statements as: "Shame"; "Get Money Out of Politics"; and "Move Your Money, Malibu."
Point Dume teller operations specialist Maria Ponce told the Malibu Surfside News that because branch manager Benjamin Soriano was not at the bank, the corporate security officer, Howard Yaris, took control and instructed personnel to close the bank at 9:30 a.m.
Ponce said the bank personnel did not feel threatened, but they were concerned that customers were being inconvenienced when the bank did not reopen until 3:30 p.m.
She indicated that a few customers complained about the inconvenience but no one indicated that the vigil participants harassed them and many people expressed support for the right to protest the role of the banking industry in creating the current economic miasma.
Bank of America was selected for the action, according to Malibu May 9 vigil coordinator Valerie Sklarevsky, because the bank "made millions in profits by not paying any federal income taxes and, even though bailed out ($45 billion) with taxpayer funds, was the number one bank in foreclosing on homes."
Sklarevsky, a decades-long peace activist who has poured her own blood at actions protesting war and corporate greed, also said, "Bank of America is one of the largest financiers of nuclear weapons, investing hundreds of millions of dollars every year in weapons of mass destruction."
She criticized the bank's chief executive officer, Brian Moynihan, who she said had a "salary/ bonus of over $8,000,000 last year, while over 35,000 [B of A] employees were laid off."
Sklarevsky added, "I would love to see us have a cash-mob event at Bank of America where Malibu residents would withdraw [their] money in opposition to a company that finances businesses in order to make a profit without regard for the impacts on people and the planet."