In February 2017, our city council on a 5-0 vote instructed city staff to open the bidding process for banking services, which for the last several years (since 2010?) have been provided by Wells Fargo. This city council action was a response to citizen testimony at the council meeting only a month earlier asking the city to “put its money where its mouth is”.
That was in reference to the fact that in Oct 2016, in response to many people going to the microphone at an earlier council meeting, the council passed a resolution in support of the protest at Standing Rock. By the way, two of the people who testified for the October action came with me to La Pena last night — Carole Standing Elk (Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux) and Francisco Dominguez, Native American of Mexican descent. Carole lives in Davis, Francisco in Sacramento.
Also at the January council meeting, we asked the council why they were not doing business with a local area bank, of which there are several. That point appeared to sway one council member who we thought might be on the fence.
The city received banking services bids during the spring and early summer, and on July 18 this year, the council approved the staff recommendation to begin negotiations for banking services with River City Bank, which is headquartered in nearby Sacramento. A City finance department staff member told me she expects the process of switching from Wells Fargo to River City Bank to be completed sometime this fall, probably in October.
Our local group, the Standing Rock Divestment Action Group is happy, and we held an event in July in Central Park at which we thanked the City of Davis. Several of us had been to Standing Rock, so a few tears were shed.
The City’s banking business is about $125 million, so tiny compared to Seattle and SF, but this shows it can be done without a lot of hoopla, and it doesn’t need to take years to carry out. We are proud that our Council’s vote in February was taken the same week as Seattle took its action to begin the process of divestment.