See the video here: http://www.wset.com/story/18267035/danville-man-among-bank-of-america-protesters?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7211770
Reporter: James Gherardi l Videographer: Jonathan Merryman
Danville, VA –Hundreds of protestors turned out in Charlotte, NC Wednesday to rally at Bank of America's annual shareholder's meeting. One of those protestors is from Danville.
Ben Wright says he was really fed up with what he saw: Bank of America leads the country in home foreclosures, and in 2011, they didn't pay a dime in federal income taxes.
Among the hundreds of angry protestors that packed the lobby of Bank of America headquarters in Charlotte, was the 27-year-old Danville native Wright.
"This was definitely my first big one. I didn't know much of what to expect," he said.
Wright says it sickened him to see the economic condition of his hometown deteriorate while the bank, with numerous Danville locations, exploits its customers.
"If Bank of America cares about the community like it claims to then why does it continue to use things like off-shore subsidiaries and other loopholes to not pay taxes," said Wright.
ABC 13 News tried contacting Bank of America, and after sending emails and waiting on hold for more than 10 minutes, the closest we got to speaking with an employee was an automated message saying "all agents are still busy. Please stay on the line, and your call will be answered in the order in which it was received."
But Wright bought a small amount of Bank of America stock to become a shareholder. He was able to attend a shareholders' meeting where he asked CEO Brian Moynihan directly about the company's taxes.
"He told me that they recently paid over $5 million in taxes. However, those were not federal income taxes, they paid other taxes," said Wright.
But despite claims from Wright that the bank has manipulated customers, the company says they're reducing mortgage rates for any who qualify. Nevertheless, a former big bank customer himself, Wright says now he uses a local credit union.
In the first quarter of 2012, Bank of America funded $16 billion in home loans across America. Wright says he'll continue to attend protests like these until he sees a change in the way big banks do business, especially in Danville.