Regions Bank’s recent collusion with the FBI in attacking the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF) and imposing sanctions on its programs serving the interests of the African working class is only the latest in a long line of racist actions, fraud and corruption scandals by Regions in recent years benefitting the parasitic banking executives. (Hands Off Uhuru flier to stop Regions attacks)
Regions CEO John Turner’s salary is a staggering 8.5 million dollars a year and several other executives make well over 3 million dollars a year! See: Regions executive salaries.
Regions is headquartered in Birmingham, AL whose population is 69 percent African while only 18 percent of Regions employees are black. The city of Birmingham 25.5 percent of its families living below the poverty line and a per capita income of only $26,000 a year.
Regions’ parasitic, blood-sucking executives actively gouged their everyday customers (not their big investors) with fraudulent illicit surprise overdraft fees for years even though the executives had been warned by their staff that these fees were illegal.
In September 2022, The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) forced Regions to refund $141 million to customers and pay a $50 million fee for repeatedly defrauding their customers with overdraft fees–fees that were imposed even after customers were told they had sufficient funds prior to withdrawal.
This practice went on as far back as 2015 when Regions was first reprimanded and continued until at least 2021. See: CFPB orders Regions to pay $191 billion.
The CFPB also found that Regions leadership knew about and could have discontinued its gouging of their customers years earlier, but they chose to wait while Regions pursued changes that would generate new fee revenue to make up for ending the illegal fees.
“Regions Bank raked in tens of millions of dollars in surprise overdraft fees every year, even after its own staff warned that the bank’s practices were illegal,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra.
Regions did this despite the fact that in 2015 they hired John Boles, a 25-year FBI agent, to head up its “Fraud Prevention” department which obviously was complicit with the executives’ fraudulent actions.
In addition, Regions was a major lender and trustee for a 30 year loan to the private prison corporation CoreCivic for the building of two new private prisons in Alabama in Escambia and Elmore counties.
A press release from an organization fighting Regions’ funding of the Alabama private prisons stated that the state’s colonial “draconian minimum sentencing laws, which hopelessly incarcerate people for catastrophically long periods of time” were cited as a major cause of Alabama’s brutal prison conditions.
“Over 5,660 people are currently serving life sentences or life without parole, which encompass 26 percent of the overall Alabama Department of Corrections population. This makes immediate overcrowding of the prisons as soon as they are built inevitable…” the group stated. Alabama Student Activists hold protest at Regions bank
The Uhuru Movement is well aware of the brutal colonial conditions of the Alabama prisons and remembers the testimony of our late heroic comrade and African political prisoner Mafundi Lake who testified at the First Tribunal on Reparations to African People that he was kept for years in a freezing cold cell in lock down at the notorious Atmore-Holman prison in Alabama with no clothes or bedding and nothing but two pieces of toilet paper to put over his body.
Regions stated that they would sever their ties to the CoreCivic at the end of 2023 only after protests were held at their Birmingham headquarters in 2020. The bank generously gave their private prison customers three years notice for the end of their loan, but gave APEDF an immediate notice with no reason for the termination their loans
Alabama was one of the states that most profited from the brutal colonial convict leasing program that was used from 1846 and extending for 80 years until 1928. It was the last state to formally outlaw it. The revenues derived from convict leasing were substantial, accounting for about 10 percent of total state revenues during 1883, surging to nearly 73 percent of all the money coming into the state by 1898!
The convict leasing program captured thousands of African men, women, children and toddlers forcing them to be hired out to corporations and plantations where they were brutalized, beaten, starved and worked to death. Convict leasing was called “worse than slavery” and operated with the motto, “One dies, get another.”
This is the basis of the colonial prison system and the wealth of the banks in Alabama and the U.S. today! AP article with photos of convict leasing. An article in the Washington Post shows that slave owners and their families in Alabama and the south actually got richer after the end of chattel slavery than during the time of enslavement due to convict leasing.
African people have been criminally exploited by the U.S. banking system since the theft of more than $66 million dollars deposited by more than 61,000 African people during the first nine years after the end of enslavement. The Freedmen’s Bank was officially closed on June 29, 1874 after the parasitic colonial white board members stole our money for their own enrichment and investments. No white person ever went to jail or paid a price for this theft—one more reason why $14.1 trillion in reparations are owed to African people in the U.S. for stolen labor alone.
- Boycott Regions Bank! Bank-Run on Regions! Close your accounts.
- Call-in to your local Regions branch and state the demands during open hours. Go to your local Regions bank and state demands for CEO John Turner:
- Stop Regions’ racist sanctions on APEDF! Support Black economic development!
- Demonstrate at a Regions bank branch in your city and hand out this flier!
- Join and assist in legal action against Regions at HandsOffUhuru.org/volunteer
- Donate to the Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa! campaign at HandsOffUhuru.org/donate