Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wells Fargo annual meeting disrupted by protesters for oh, so many reasons

Teamsters Local 814 protests Well Fargo in New York City on
Oct. 20, 2012

Wells Fargo had to go into hiding for its annual meeting Tuesday in Salt Lake City because of protests against its predatory lending, illegal foreclosures and disgraceful treatment of the homeowners who paid the taxes that helped bail the bank out.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
For the first time in about 15 years, banking giant Wells Fargo held its shareholders meeting away from its headquarter city of San Francisco, gathering Tuesday under a heavy security presence at The Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. 
At least two dozen protesters, some carrying signs criticizing bank mortgage policies, marched peacefully outside the hotel under the watch of about a half-dozen police officers, but it was a far different scene than last year’s mass demonstration in San Francisco. Inside, about half-a-dozen people were escorted out of the meeting at one point after directing heated questions at CEO John Stumpf about the bank’s loan modification improprieties and its high-interest lending that disproportionately affect black, Latino and low-income mortgage borrowers...
At one point, several in the audience stood up and started yelling comments at Stumpf. Security guards hustled them from the meeting as a chant arose, "Racist lending is a crime. John Stumpf should be doing time." No arrests were made. 
Those attending the meeting were met by metal detectors, handheld security wands and more than a dozen police and other officers. One accompanied a bomb-sniffing dog. 
Here's a partial (very partial) list of Wells Fargo's many sins:
  • ... the bank engaged in systematic, large scale alteration of mortgage notes and fabrication of related documents in preparation for foreclosure, the naked capitalist reported.
  • "Although its own representatives have admitted that it routinely misapplied payments on loans and improperly charged fees, they have refused to correct past errors," wrote U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Elizabeth Magner.
  • The bank fired Richard Eggers, a 68-year-old Vietnam veteran, from his $29,795-a-year job for  putting a cardboard cutout of a dime in a washing machine in Carlisle, Iowa, on Feb. 2, 1963.
  • The U.S. Justice Department found that mortgage brokers working with Wells Fargo had charged higher fees and rates to more than 30,000 minority borrowers across the country than they had to white borrowers who posed the same credit risk, according to firedoglake.
  • The bank recklessly issued mortgages and then lied about their condition to the Federal Housing Administration, a government agency that insured them, the federal prosecutors' complaint said.
No wonder they had to hide.