On Friday, October 5, the Sisters of Charity of New York delivered thousands of petitions to NBC Nightly News and ABC World News to urge them to stop their blackout coverage of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) scandal since it broke 3 months ago. The bank manipulation of a critical interest rate that impacts all of us - from home mortgages to credit cards, its affects are wide-ranging, especially for the poor and most vulnerable.
Jubilee USA Network, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate sent letters to NBC Nightly News and ABC World News to urge them to cover the scandal. Over three months since the scandal broke and two months since we sent the letters, we still have had no response. The Sisters, on behalf of 250 interfaith communities brought the petition to their front doors but ABC and NBC still have not responded or covered this critical story.
In the faith leaders letter to the programs, they wrote, "Our organizations represent almost all of the mainline Churches, more than 100 national organizations and 200 congregations that are concerned about continued corruption in our banking system. The manipulation of these rates affects people across the income spectrum. As faith-based organizations we must stress that this corruption has severe repercussions for the poor and most vulnerable." The Sisters of Charity of New York hand delivered 5,000 petitions to the programs headquarters in NY.
According to the Economist, LIBOR is a benchmark for short term rates, when manipulated, affects payments for more than 800 trillion dollars of financial instruments and 99 percent of all commercial products including mortgages, credit cards and pensions, as reported by CNN.
This manipulation can be seen most evident when Barclays's paid a $450 million fine and face additional investigations. At least six other major banks - JP Morgan, Citigroup, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank and UBS - have also been issued subpoenas from the attorney generals of New York and Connecticut for investigation of potential involvement in the scandal. Investor groups are launching lawsuits.
"The LIBOR banking scandal impacts all of us – from home mortgages to credit cards, its effects are wide-ranging. As people of faith, we are particularly concerned about the impact on poor people and the most vulnerable. How can these news programs ignore an 800 trillion dollar scandal? NBC Nightly News and ABC World News refused to respond to us – so we have to deliver thousands of petitions to their doorstep," stated Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network.