US Bank President Richard Davis to disillusioned business owners: "Get over it"

The 99% protested US Bank President Richard Davis' speech.
The 99% protested US Bank President Richard Davis' speech.

US Bank President Richard Davis addressed the 1% at a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce luncheon this afternoon while the 99% protested outside.

The "Golden Boy of Wall Street," as the New York Times recently dubbed him, was there to discuss the chamber's 2012 legislative priorities -- none of which include housing, the foreclosure crisis, or banking issues, although "tax reform" is on the agenda as the body's "major policy initiative."

Outside, a group of protesters including Occupy MNers and community leaders rallied to demand banks stop "foreclosing on the American Dream."

In a speech lasting about half an hour, Davis did not address the Occupy movement sweeping the country.

The banker began his speech to the assembled fat cats by introducing the Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared," and Minnesota's state motto, "Get prepared."

That, Davis said on numerous occasions throughout the speech, was the key to making it through this recession. If it's raining, he counseled, "get an umbrella."

Davis commented on the economic woes facing the country, saying "fear," "loss of faith," and "uncertainty" were damaging American business. Davis called these feelings "really lame reasons to not get up in the morning."

"'Everybody's breaking the rules, blah blah blah,'" Davis said at one point, admonishing the assembled business leaders to "get over it."

A group of Minnesotans who demonstrated outside underscored the divide between the haves and have-nots. Local Rev. Grant Stevensen, who serves as the pastor of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, criticized the Chamber of Commerce for "lobbying for job-killing cuts to critical services while opposing paying their fair share" in an official statement issued by Minnesotans for a Fair Economy.

Sheronda Orridge, a St. Paul homeowner whose mortgage with Wells Fargo is currently underwater, also spoke out at the rally, demanding that the banks reconsider cases like hers.

"They say I don't have a hardship," said Orridge, a single mother who claims to live paycheck to paycheck. "I'm paying $137,000 on my mortgage. It's now worth $85,000."

Orridge said she brings home $30,000 a year.

"We're not whining," Orridge added, speaking of herself and others in the same situation. "We are doing what we're supposed to do, and the banks should do what they're supposed to do."

UPDATE: After this story was originally published, we got a call from Richard Davis's press agent, who insisted the admonition to "get over it" was directed at business owners, not protesters. We changed the language around the quote as well as the headline to better reflect these stated intentions.

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