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First Union Campaign

Having established a presence in the southeast during the Fleet Bank campaign, NACA studied Charlotte’s two largest banks: First Union and NationsBank. First Union was making no effort to serve low- and moderate-income communities and received very few mortgage applications from them. NationsBank, on the other hand, was making an effort to lend to minority and low- and moderate-income people, but had a high rejection rate for their loan applications. NACA approached NationsBank about the possibility of working together to improve their services, and turned a critical eye to the policies of First Union.

Fighting “Fast Eddie” Crutchfield – First Union CEO
NACA targeted First Union’s CEO Edward Crutchfield for failing to fulfill his obligations to these communities. NACA dubbed Crutchfield “Fast Eddie,” since he sped by working people to obtain high-income customers. NACA hounded Fast Eddie at every turn. Thousands of post cards were sent to his home and neighbors, informing them of First Union’s practices. NACA drafted the “Fast Eddie Report,” which contained Crutchfield’s personal information, and sent it to all of his neighbors and the neighbors of First Union’s directors and top officers. NACA wanted Crutchfield to understand that he had a personal impact on people’s lives by denying them credit, and thus his personal life would be affected as well.

Major rallies and law suits
In September 1995, at a large rally in Jacksonville Florida, NACA filed a protest against First Union’s proposed acquisition of First Fidelity, then the largest bank in New Jersey. NACA organized over three hundred and fifty people to travel to Charlotte for First Union’s stockholders meeting, which would address the acquisition. On October 3, 1995, these people marched down North Tryon Street to the First Union headquarters, where they were blocked from entering the building. As a First Union shareholder, NACA had a right to send representatives to the meeting, but none were allowed in. NACA sued First Union and hired a major Charlotte law firm to depose the top First Union executives including Barbara Masa, the Director of Corporate Communications, John Georgius, President, and Eddie Crutchfield, CEO. These depositions lasted for days and revealed extensive and compromising information concerning their operations and personal relationships.

NACA defeats First Union
First Union realized that NACA would do whatever was required to win the campaign. They had no choice but to shift strategy and begin negotiations, which resulted in major changes in its lending to low- and moderate-income people.

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