Amid protests on street, BofA shareholders voice concerns to bank officials
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CHARLOTTE – As hundreds of people protested in the streets below, Bank of America held a shareholders meeting Wednesday in Charlotte. Attendees shared their concerns about a number of issues while CEO Brian Moynihan defended the bank's actions.
The annual meeting deviated from concerns about company strategy and business tactics and focused on controversial items such as payday lending, the coal industry and mortgages.
Members from the protest groups outside who also own stock peppered Moynihan on questionable home loan practices.
"I don't think they're going to do it willingly. It's going to probably take lawsuits or governmental action or legislation," said shareholder David Kirby.
Moynihan pushed back against accusations that the company practices illegal lending.
"Sir, we follow the law every day. We're cleaning up companies we didn't own when they did things and we'll continue to do that," he said.
Moynihan said the bank has modified a million mortgages -- far more than other institutions.
"It's a very complex process but there's 50,000 people working on it every day," Moynihan said.
A slate of shareholder-backed proposals -- including one that would require the company to disclose how much it spends on lobbying -- did not garner enough support to pass. Shareholders did endorse a multi-million dollar executive compensation package for Moynihan.
Some criticized his $7 million salary but Moynihan said it's in line with the company's performance.
"I think you'll feel that for the work we did two years ago or last year, we've done our part," he said.
But many of the shareholders who attended say Moynihan's answers weren't enough to ease their concerns.
"All he did was deflect and put statistics and stuff that wasn't really accurate," shareholder Sonny Garcia said.
One shareholder said he'd like to see the bank put more focus on Charlotte by requiring its top leaders to live in the Queen City.
Some did praise the bank, particularly for its charity work with food banks in the region.
Bank of America's stock closed Wednesday at $7.73, about a 6-cent drop. The high for the bank during the past year happened last May when it hit $12.43. The low hit in December at $4.92.