Seattle City to snap ties with Wells Fargo over Dakota Access Pipeline project

Calling for a bank that reflects the city's values, the Seattle City Council voted 9-0 yesterday to cut banking ties with Wells Fargo over its role as a lender to the Dakota Access Pipeline project.

The bill asks mayor Ed Murray to inform Wells Fargo that the city would not be renewing its financial-services contract, which would expire by the end of 2018 and would refrain from new cash investments in Wells Fargo securities for at least three years.

''People say, 'Money Talks,'?'' said Council member Debora Juarez. ''We say, 'No, it doesn't. We do.'?''

The city channels around $3?billion a year through the bank, which includes revenue from all sources even parking metres. The city's average daily balance in the bank had been about $10?million over the past six months, according to Wells Fargo.

The current contract with Wells Fargo began 1 January, 2013 extended through 31 December 2018, with the option of five additional one-year extensions. The lender was chosen by the city through competitive bidding.

While other states had punished Wells Fargo for creating millions of fraudulent bank and credit-card accounts in a scandal that hit the lender last year, Seattle was the first to make the pipeline a major reason for severing ties with the bank.

The vote prompted "water is life!" chants from crowds that had packed the city council chambers to express solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux tribe which would be hit by the pipeline.

Activists had camped around the pipeline route for a year and president Obama's order to the Army to find an alternative route had given temporary relief. President Trump's approval of the pipeline had reversed the action.

According to native tribes, the pipeline, which would run under the Missouri River, would endanger public health and water supplies.