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Activists protest new Chase Bank location in Wakefield

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Chase Bank provides far more overall funding worldwide for both current and new fossil fuel projects than any other bank in the world, and since the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement Chase Bank has financed more and more-  $269 billion for fossil fuel projects in all…


Around 40 protesters rallied in front of the site of new Chase Bank branch in Wakefield on Monday, the first branch in southern Rhode Island and third branch in the state. Protesters, organized by Climate Action Rhode Island (CARI) protesters socially distanced and wore masks as they held banners and signs.

The protest was focused on the climate crisis and Chase Bank’s role in making it much worse; and Chase’s history of redlining and discrimination against minorities.

Chase Bank provides far more overall funding worldwide for both current and new fossil fuel projects than any other bank in the world, and since the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement Chase Bank has financed more and more-  $269 billion for fossil fuel projects in all.

Rhode Island is particularly affected by climate change. Matunuck, Watch Hill, Wickford, Conimicut, and the entire Narragansett Bay coastline are already subjected to serious erosion, flooding problems, and loss of land, wildlife habitats, beaches, properties, and environmental treasures.

Black, brown, and indigenous people have been disproportionately harmed by unmitigated pollution and saturation of fossil fuels. For example, in South Providence residents have the highest asthma rates in Rhode Island due to very leaky fossil fuel facilities on Allens Avenue and car emissions from Route 95.


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But Chase Bank has done more damage to BIPOC communities than simply pollute their air, land and water.

Chase Bank has a well-documented history of redlining and discrimination against BIPOC and people in poverty. In 2017, Chase Bank was fined $55 million for charging black and Latino borrowers higher interest rates than white customers. Redlining Report documented that from 2012-2018 Chase Bank had the worst lending disparity rate of any bank doing business in Chicago and lent only 2.4 cents in black neighborhoods for every dollar lent in white neighborhoods, a disparity that cost black neighborhoods an average of $829 million a year.

The protesters in Wakefield had four demands:

  1. Immediately stops its world-leading financing of new fossil fuel projects; and
  2. Takes immediate steps to phase out its world-leading funding of existing fossil fuel projects; and
  3. Invests the saved funds in renewable energies, other environmentally-friendly ventures, and communities historically redlined or otherwise discriminated against; and
  4. Contribute reparations to mitigate the living and environmental conditions and the health consequences for Rhode Island’s black, indigenous, and people of color who have been and are harmed by fossil fuels, fossil fuel facilities, and Chase Bank’s redlining and discriminatory practices.

Climate Action Rhode Island.350 (CARI) is a statewide grassroots all-volunteer community group and the Rhode Island affiliate of 350.org, the largest international network of grassroots groups concerned with and taking action on climate change.

Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade. atomicsteve@gmail.com