Wheeler: Portland will reexamine Wells Fargo relationships

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said the city will reexamine its banking relationships in light of national events.

Wheeler said via Twitter that he's "directed the Office of Management and Finance to bring me a plan to solicit proposals for the city's banking services." The city currently contracts with Wells Fargo for depository services.

The proposals will be rated in part on factors relating to socially responsible business practices, Wheeler wrote.

The move comes after Seattle's city government dropped Wells Fargo in light of issues related to events at Standing Rock and the North Dakota Access Pipeline.

Wheeler said both actions "are similar to those taken by Seattle." The moves, though, arrive after Portland leaders decided to no longer buy corporate securities.

"As bonds mature, they will not be replaced in our portfolio," Wheeler wrote.

The Puget Sound Business Journal, a sibling publication of the Portland Business Journal, reported that Phillip Smith, the bank's head of government and institutional banking, said Davis, California divested soon after Seattle and Santa Monica, California divested last week.

"People want to copycat Seattle," Smith told Puget Sound Business Journal in an interview. "We've got people saying, 'Hey, that city council got a national headline out of taking this action, so I'm going to do that.' It's a political career-enhancing move that nobody is holding anyone accountable for."

Seattle's leaders voted Feb. 7 to end the city's banking relationship with Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC), citing the bank's customer account fraud scandal and the lender's financing for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo has a contract to manage the city’s operating account until Dec. 31, 2018. The ordinance

 

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