How Can Anyone Keep Their Money at Wells Fargo?

Manderson, WY   On Wyoming maps there are various stagecoach routes that are marked not far from the Silver Bullet’s location on the Bridger Trail. Stagecoaches, the Pony Express, and other ways of delivering the mail are so 1800s. Sadly, for some the only knowledge they may have of a stagecoach is the symbol still used by the banking giant Wells Fargo. If anyone was still manufacturing stagecoaches they would have solid grounds for a lawsuit against the bank for damaging their brand. As one story after another emerges from the gruesome bowels of the bank, I can’t help but wonder, how can anyone keep their money at Wells Fargo?

Just this week there were another handful of grim revelations by the bank.

Wells Fargo said in a regulatory filing that its review of potentially unauthorized accounts could reveal a “significant increase” in the number of accounts involved, up from the 2.1 million that it previously estimated. Wells Fargo said it had expanded its investigation to add three years to its review period, which covered accounts opened from 2011 to mid-2015. This scandal has engulfed the bank leading the fall of one chief executive already, the clawback of bonuses from the CEO and other executives, and, oh yeah, the firing of thousands who participated in schemes where they opened accounts without permission, often closing them quickly as well, in order to make sales and income goals in a boiler room from hell operation.

Just for good measure it seems, the bank also revealed that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is investigating whether they harmed customers by closing accounts when there was suspected fraudulent activity and doing so unilaterally without investigation. Hey, we all know their policy now: easy open, quick close, the customer be damned.

That’s not all of course. ACORN fought them for years over the issue of predatory lending winning a begrudging settlement and a gag order mainly for our California members. Others have sued them in recent years for discrimination in lending and of course who can forget the billions they paid along with other members of their tribe for sketchy securitization of mortgages.

Not enough for you yet? How about this one?

Wells Fargo with headquarters in San Francisco, California, a state with a significant Hispanic population, was just slapped down by a federal judge when Wells and its lawyers tried to argue that they had the right to discriminate. Yes, you’re hearing me correctly, the right to discriminate.

A federal judge shot down an argument from Wells Fargo last week that banks can discriminate against applicants, in certain cases, based on immigration status. The class-action lawsuit, brought by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, concerns six DACA recipients, more commonly known as “Dreamers,” who were denied student loans and credit cards from Wells Fargo because of their undocumented status. Are you following me, under deferred action the government allowed them to go to school, work, drive, and live semi-normal lives, but Wells Fargo, believed that despite the DACA relief from the federal government in allowing them to attend colleges and universities, the bank had the right to deny them student loans regardless.

Their culture is one big anti-customer hot mess. It’s not buyer-beware over there, it’s “come into my web said the spider to the fly.” I can’t stop scratching my head in continual wonder as I keep asking myself, “How can anyone keep their money at Wells Fargo?”


Texas Passes Discriminatory Adoption Ban and California Implements Travel Ban

Cantor Yitzhak Ben-Moshe, Pastor Brad Fuerst and supporter Kim Jones along with dozens of clergy and faith leaders rallied outside the House Chamber at the Capitol in Austin in opposition of bills they consider anti-LGBT.

Houston  Before going to the annual Local 100 Leadership Conference, I took a look at the Houston Chronicle to see if there was any local news. There was a weird front page headline, “State Fires Back at California Ban,” prompting me to ask my hosts, what the frick was this about? The answer was an OMG moment!

The Texas legislature in its peculiar wisdom had passed a bill which they called the “Freedom to Serve Children Act,” which – and I was so incredulous about this I had to double check to make sure I wasn’t imagining this – gives publicly funded adoption agencies the right of a “religious refusal” on adoptions. This isn’t just just standard garden variety gay-bashing so common among the cowboys up there. This was a hater bill discriminating broadly on just about anybody. Not only could such agencies refuse to place children in LGBT households, but they also could fence off unmarried couples, single mothers or fathers, and non-Christian prospective parents from their services, while still continuing to feed from the public trough supported by all Texas taxpayers. According to news reports, such agencies provide 25% of the adoption services in Texas at this point. All of this is unbelievable, but equally surprising, at least to me, given how blatantly discriminatory such legislation is, Texas wasn’t even the first state to pass such a bill. South Dakota seems to have done so last spring.

So, you might wonder, as I did, how California got themselves in the middle of this mess? Well, California banned all state-funded travel to Texas because of this blatant discrimination, especially against the LGBT community. Somehow I had missed this as well, but Texas is the 8thstate on the California travel ban. Of course South Dakota is on the list, but so is Kentucky and Alabama. They are joined Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee in the gang of eight. Texas legislators were quoted hoping that Governor Abbot would let them extract revenge on California in the coming days of the special legislative session, so stay tuned for more word bullets flying.

For now it’s just a spit fight. Abbot claimed that who cared, arguing that businesses are fleeing high-tax Cali for wild west Texas. Spokespeople for California put their nose in the air and noted that, oh, really, then why is California the 6th largest economy in the world, recently surpassing France in that position. No one every misses a shot at France it seems.

Don’t get distracted by the bizarre craziness of all of this. The bottom line is that this act and others like it are just plain wrong and are state-funded and supported discrimination. Doing so while hiding behind the cloak of religion seems even more shameful.

Once you stop laughing, start fighting.