Civil Rights Leader and CDLU Chairman of the Board Ernesto Pichardo has reached out to William S. Demchak, the Chairman, CEO and President of PNC Bank which is in the process of acquiring BBVA USA for $11.6 billion, asking him to terminate BBVA USA’s outside counsel, Balch & Bingham, before the acquisition is completed.
“The undisputed fact is that BBVA USA was founded in 1964 by a staunch segregationist who was part of racist Alabama Governor George Wallace’s inner circle. BBVA USA’s founder was also a long-time partner at Balch & Bingham, a law firm which continues to engage in deplorable and unsavory conduct. Today, we launched two websites with the racist history of BBVA USA, one in English, and the other in Spanish,” Pichardo told Demchak.
Discussing more recent controversies, Pichardo reported, “In 2018, a Balch & Bingham partner was convicted and sentenced to five years in federal prison for a bribery scheme that included suppressing African-Americans from testing their toxic and contaminated property in North Birmingham. BBVA USA’s outside counsel has also been involved in other alleged misconduct including targeting poor African-American children and allegedly disenfranchising African-American voters.”
“PNC Bank has a voice, a voice to bring systemic racism to an end. Balch & Bingham has refused to apologize to the African-American community for their egregious and unacceptable conduct, and 18 of 18 major D.C. lobbying clients have courageously terminated the embattled firm. PNC Bank must take a stand and not allow the firm to earn a single penny from this transaction,” Pichardo declared.
In 1993, Pichardo won a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision for religious freedom and Civil Rights after his Afro-Caribbean faith came under attack due to blatant intolerance and discrimination by racists and religious bigots.
Balch & Bingham has represented BBVA USA for over 50 years.