U.S. Bank gets the big prize but Bremer gets a consolation prize.
The long-running issue of who gets the payroll banking account for Minneapolis public schools was resolved Tuesday, when the school board switched from Wells Fargo to U.S. Bank and awarded Bremer Bank a small consolation prize.
The unanimous decision came after the board gave more attention to the issue than any other on its public agenda this summer and after an unusual lobbying campaign by community and labor groups that began last fall.
The issue of who got the payroll transactions business hadn't been reconsidered by the district in years. Community members got to grill bankers about their foreclosure and other banking practices.
The payroll account involves more than $300 million in transactions annually. U.S. Bank already held the district's accounts-payable business and was ranked slightly ahead on the district's criteria, although Wells Fargo's fees were cheaper.
Community activists targeted Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank, saying they made risky loans to homeowners -- loans that hurt borrowers and the district's tax base. But they focused more of their fire on Wells Fargo, which said it had no immediate comment.
A staff recommendation that JPMorgan Chase & Co. get the account for credit cards used by some district employees was rewritten at the last minute to give that business to Bremer. The competitive proposals process the district devised for some banking services determined that Bremer wasn't fully capable of handling the payroll account, but board members pushed to give Bremer some business.