A group of about 50 to 60 protesters interrupted a speech by Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf on Thursday at a banking conference, taking over the stage with chants and complaints about home foreclosures.
The protesters were affiliated with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, a group that in the past few months has accused Wells of failing to offer principal reductions to delinquent borrowers, as required under the national mortgage settlement.
Stumpf was about 25 minutes into a speech about the state of the banking industry and increased regulation when a woman walked onto stage and held out her hand, which Stumpf shook. The woman then grabbed a microphone, raised her voice and told the audience "Wells Fargo is taking my house tomorrow."
The protestor later identified herself to American Banker as Betty Badro, a Glendale, Calif. homeowner and state worker who has been delinquent on her mortgage for at least two years.
Following Badro's appearance on stage, she was joined by several other protesters. Stumpf was escorted off the stage by a security detail and left the conference.
"While we respect the right of individuals to express their opinions, we are very disappointed in the actions protesters took at the Retail Banking Conference today that disrupted John Stumpf's presentation and the entire conference," Oscar Suris, an executive vice president of corporate communications, said. "This type of behavior damages efforts for productive dialogue and opportunities to work together to reach solutions."
The annual conference was taking place at a hotel in Carlsbad, Calif., and is hosted by American Banker.