Radcliffe Sells Bank of America Stock

Disagreed With South African Policies

Radcliffe last month sold $600,000 worth of Bank of America stock because the stock hit an acceptable price and because Radcliffe trustees disagreed with the bank's South African loan policy.

The Radcliffe trustees had agreed last year to sell the 20,000 shares of stock when their price reached $30 a share, Robert H. Gardiner '37, Radcliffe treasurer, said earlier this week. Radcliffe bought the stock for $17 a share, he added.

If the stock had not reached the predetermined sale price, Radcliffe would have sold it anyway because Bank of America refused last spring to stop lending money to South Africa, Gardiner said.

At a shareholders' meeting last May, several religious and social organizations introduced a shareholders' resolution calling on the bank to refrain from making new loans and renewing old ones to the South African government and its agencies, Miriam Greene, a spokesman for Bank of America, said yesterday.

Radcliffe sent an alumna to that meeting to vote in favor of the proposal, Gardiner said. Although the bank's management opposed the resolution, an "astounding" 5 to 6 per cent of the shareholders voted for it, Gardiner said. Proposals opposed by management usually receive much less support, he added.


The bank opposed the resolution because its directors believe that by continuing to make selective loans to South Africa rather than withdrawing its money, Bank of America can do more to improve labor and social conditions there, Greene said.


"We recognize that apartheid causes political strains. As a result, we have had a long policy of restraint with regard to loans to South Africa," Jim Langston, senior vice president in charge of social policy for Bank of America, said last night.

He said the bank does not make loans to the South African government itself, but it does lend to government-owned corporations and agencies.

"We are in a strong restraint posture, but we don't think that it is appropriate or smart for a private institution to decide which governments are all right to deal with and which are not," Langston said.

Bank of America currently has mainly short-term loans outstanding to South Africa that comprise a small percentage of the company's $49 billion worth of outstanding loans, Greene said.

In addition to voting for the shareholder resolution, Radcliffe officials communicated with high-level executives at Bank of America in order to convince the company to establish a more acceptable policy on loans to South Africa, Gardiner said.

Radcliffe originally considered selling the stock regardless of the price after Gardiner wrote to the president of the bank to question him on the corporation's South African policies and received an unsatisfactory response, Gardiner said last spring.

A spokesman for the Harvard treasurer's office said earlier this week Harvard has no investments in Bank of America. Harvard established a policy in April 1978 of not investing in banks that make loans to South Africa.

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