First the affordable housing crowd shook down banks for mortgage payola for the poor. Now the environmental lobby is shaking them down for cash to underwrite President Obama’s risky green agenda.
In a strange announcement, Bank of America this week pledged an eye-popping $50 billion in loans for “renewable energy” projects — windmills, solar panels and hybrids — over the next 10 years.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank joins a number of other large banks making green commitments amid complaints from environmental groups that they finance coal extraction, the new bugaboo of the left.
Wells Fargo has already committed $30 billion in green payola. JPMorgan Chase has pumped nearly $7 billion into renewable energy projects.
BofA upped the ante just one month after five radical greenies climbed Bank of America stadium in Charlotte, N.C., and unfurled a 70-foot-wide banner rebranding the stadium the “Bank of Coal.”
A group called Rainforest Action Network took credit for the stunt. A San Francisco-based green version of ACORN, founded by an anti-capitalist Obama donor, RAN wanted to highlight BofA’s funding of coal plants, which it claims cause global warming.
“The same way that banks are foreclosing on American homes, they’re foreclosing on our climate,” claimed RAN chief Becky Tarbotton, echoing Obama’s rhetoric. “Bank of America is top of the list.”
Days later, RAN sent its goons to BofA’s annual meeting. They demanded the bank stop funding coal mining — specifically mountaintop clearing — and “expand investments in renewable energy.”
BofA, in turn, agreed to stop funding mountaintop mining and start funding windmills, even though coal is a more cost-efficient energy source — and far more profitable than alternatives.
“We recognize our responsibility to take action to reduce our environmental footprint,” the bank said. “We are helping to build a low-carbon economy through strategic investments and financing.”
Why would the nation’s largest bank let tree huggers dictate its investments? The same reason it agreed to underwrite billions in risky mortgages in response to threats from ACORN and other housing shakedown groups: to protect its corporate brand.
Just like banks didn’t want to be labeled “racists” then, they don’t want to be branded “polluters” now.
And extortionists like RAN, who play dirty, attacking bankers on vacation and at graduation speeches, prey on that fear. Their subversive tactics work. They know CEOs will pay them off if they apply enough pressure.