WANTED: For profiting at the expense of our communities.
Wells Fargo leads the country in tax dodging, home foreclosures, predatory lending, private prison profiteering, financing payday loans and factory farms, political contributions, bank bailouts, record profits and CEO profits.
But don’t just take our word for it. Below are fact sheets and national press articles on the topic.
One of America’s biggest tax dodgers
While we struggle to save our homes and schools, Wells Fargo refuses to pay its fair share, amassed almost $18 billion in unpaid taxes over the last three years, tax money that was meant to pay for schools, repairing crumbling infrastructure, and putting America back to work.
Leads in home foreclosures
As the leading mortgage servicer in the country, last year alone, Wells Fargo earned $3.3 billion in profits from its mortgage servicing business, or about 20 percent of the bank’s total net income. As families continue to struggle with foreclosure, banks need to be doing everything they can to keep people in their homes. That includes providing massive, widespread principal reduction to cover the $700 billion in underwater mortgages that 24% of all Americans face today.
Despicable predatory lending
In 2011, Wells Fargo was fined $85 million – their largest ever – by the Federal Reserve after the Fed determined that Wells had intentionally pushed borrowers with good credit into expensive mortgages and falsified loan applications during the sub-prime mortgage boom. Wells Fargo is also under investigation by the Department of Justice, and the cities of Baltimore and Memphis.
Profits off of private prisons
Private prisons are profiting from peoples’ misery and our tax dollars. and Wells Fargo has been financing one of the largest – GEO Group – for several years. By March 2012, Wells controlled more than 4.4 million shares of GEO worth $86.7 million.
Financing Payday Loans…
Wells Fargo is the number one financier of predatory payday lenders in the United States. Since at least 2002, Wells Fargo has operated open lines of credit with dozens of payday lenders across the country. Within the past 10 years, Wells Fargo has led the way in financing payday lenders, funding well over $1 billion.
…and Factory Farms
Wells Fargo has financed the factory farm industry (most notably the DeCoster’s Quality Egg Farms until November 2011, and Prestage Farms currently) and has a significant financial interest in corporate agriculture giant Cargill, Inc. Former Wells Fargo CEO Dick Kovecevich is on Cargill’s board, and Wells purchased their hedge fund in 2011.
Wells Fargo and its top executives use money to make government work for them. From 2008-2010 Wells Fargo spent: $156,841 on state ballot measures, $1,300,250 in federal candidate contributions, and $11,040,000 in lobbying expenses.
If you ask a Wells Fargo employee about the bank bailout, they will tell you that they were forced by the federal government to take the money, didn’t need it, and paid it back right away. The truth is, Wells Fargo took $25 billion and used that cash to fund their aggressive takeover of Wachovia Bank.
You may think that a big bank that had to take taxpayer bailout money and forecloses on struggling families everyday might be having a tough time making ends meet themselves. You would be wrong! In the first quarter of 2012, in fact, Wells Fargo posted a record $4.25 billion profit.
In 2011, while families were still facing foreclosure and unemployment was still above nine percent, Wells Fargo awarded CEO John Stumpf $19.8 million dollars – a 4.6 percent raise from 2010
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