Despite Protests, Bank of America CEO's $7 Million Pay Approved

Bank of America Brian MoynihanBy Mitch Weiss and Pallavi Gogoi of AP, with AOL Jobs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Four people were arrested Wednesday as they tried to force their way into the annual Bank of America shareholders' meeting in Charlotte. Police used a new ordinance to declare the gathering an extraordinary event subject to special restrictions.

Despite the unruly protesters outside and (somewhat) more civilized inside, the shareholders did sign off on the $7 million pay package for Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan.

Hundreds of people gathered on the streets as dozens of police officers worked to contain the protest. Inside the auditorium at the company's headquarters, the protests continued. Shareholder after shareholder took the microphone to berate the bank for its handling of foreclosures, its investments in payday lenders, and also investments in the coal industry.

On stage, CEO Brian Moynihan's attempts at sidestepping hard questions or deflecting answers were met with loud jeers. Attendees shouted "amen" after anti-Bank of America statements were made by other shareholders.

At least 20 shareholders spoke at the meeting. Almost all disapproved of various Bank of America practices.

'No One Calls Us Back'

Sister Barbara Bush, who works with troubled homeowners in Cincinnati, told Moynihan that about 41 percent of the people she works with are Bank of American borrowers, but finds that the bank is the hardest and most frustrating to deal with.

"We find that we have no one to talk to because no one calls us back," Bush said. Moynihan said the bank has about 50,000 people dedicated to working with troubled homeowners.

Reverend Mike McCarthy of Iowa said Bank of America supports one of the nation's largest payday lenders, Advance America, by providing millions of dollars in credit to the company.

"The payday loan industry is devastating our cities.... Bank of America must get out of this industry," McCarthy said. Moynihan said the bank will continue to assess the business of payday lending.

Outside, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Major Jeff Estes said the four people who were arrested were charged with crossing a police line, a misdemeanor. He also said the protest was peaceful.

"There's been no property damage, and nobody was injured. We're pleased with the outcome," he said.

Police Enforce New Ordinance

Charlotte police used a new ordinance allowing the city to declare public gatherings as extraordinary events. That allowed authorities to designate areas where people aren't allowed to carry backpacks, magic markers and other items.

The measures were adopted in advance of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this summer. Estes says police didn't confiscate any of those materials at the demonstration.

Johnny Rosa of Framingham, Mass., was one of those arrested. Rosa said before he was taken into custody that his home had been foreclosed and he wanted to tell shareholders the foreclosure was wrong because he wanted to make payments.

He said his monthly mortgage was $1,290. But after his wife was injured and lost her job in 2010, it was tough to keep up with payments. Then when he was injured a year later, Rosa said they lost more income.

"I called them and told them I could make payments. I could pay them some money. I asked them for more time. But they didn't listen," he said.

Rosa applied for several government programs designed to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. But he said the bank didn't work with him. This March, Rosa says his home was foreclosed.

"All I want to do is tell them how this has hurt my family," Rosa said.

The protest was billed by its organizers as the "Showdown in Charlotte." They were protesting Bank of America's policies on foreclosures, and the bank's support of the coal industry.

After gathering for nearly two hours in front of the bank building, the group marched to Bank of America Stadium to continue their protest there.

The protesters carried signs saying: "Stop Corporate Greed." They banged on makeshift drums and chanted slogans: "We are the 99 percent."

Gail Kirshy and her husband, Darrell, own thousands of shares of BofA stock, but were turned away from the meeting by bank employees who said they had arrived too late. The couple drove from Florence, S.C. to attend the meeting.

"I'm very disgusted," she said. "We should be allowed to go inside."

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Re article "Bank of America CEO's..." by Mitch Weiss and Pallovi Gogoi: "...four people..." -people is plural. How can you have "four people" as this would ambiguous. I can't believe that this article wasn't edited!

May 11 2012 at 7:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Re: article "Bank of America CEO" -"...four people..." - grammar: people is plural! How can you have "four people" as this would mean more than four! Watch your language so as not to disseminate false information..

May 11 2012 at 6:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Re: article "Bank of America CEO" -"...four people..." - grammar: people is plural! How can you have "four people" as this would mean more than four! Watch your language so as not to disseminate false information..

May 11 2012 at 6:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The money that's paid to any CEO of ANY company is ridicuous. Nobody should make more than the President. Cap all CEO to $400,00, that's plenty.

May 11 2012 at 6:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

$ 7,000,000.00 for what? Putting untold numbers of people in economic ensalvement? What many financial institutions are practicing is closer to Financial Terrorism or Indentured Servitude, both sad state of affairs in the country.

May 11 2012 at 5:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That's terrible awful that the CEOs get all those huge sums of money. The college presidents and deans also get high salaries. All presidents and ceo's are much much overpaid. The charitable societies get huge sums of money. They ought to be ashamed. I send to animal organizations but one day I'm gonna quit. They say they have to pay those high wages and bonuses to get competent people to do the jobs but in my mind that's not so.

May 11 2012 at 3:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bless all the HARD WORKERS like Romney

May 11 2012 at 2:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

First i do agree that "We the people" have some responsibility. People who worked for say McDonalds should not have gone out and bought the McMansion....But it's not just this guys salary at $7million but is options package as well. So this $7million is more like $70million when all is said and done. So there is enough blame to go around. How about we all step up to the plate and take ownership? Then drop BofA if you don't like what you see....The only way to level the playing field is to speak in business terms..$$$$$

May 11 2012 at 1:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey protesters, get past your envy and imminent greed. Lemme ask you something. Bof A is not dropped by YOU OK, they drop YOU for being irresponsible and not in on the game. This is a capitalist society ruled by basic understrandings that of you work hard and have something to bring to the table you just may break out and become a rich guy and then what would you do? Hate yourself? NO. Your envy and stupidity are only outmatched by the forces of law that will ultimately suspend you. Unless death from old age comes first.

May 11 2012 at 12:50 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

This is why I dropped BofA and don't have anything to do with them. Your local credit unions will whip the pants off of BofA interest rates and the others of these "to big to fail" institutions. The two questions I would like answered, but not holding my breath for a response, is “what make you worth seven million dollars a year?” What can you do that a $2,000 computer with the proper software can’t do?…………..

May 11 2012 at 12:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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