Everyone wants the economy to bounce bank, and the
president�s not wrong to believe that the way to revive things is to boost
But if mass confidence is what it�s going to take, the
people at the bottom of our economic pyramid need hope -- not only that they�ll
have jobs again and homes to keep � but protection against mortgage crooks �
and restitution if they�ve been scammed.
The city of Baltimore is currently pursuing a suit against
Wells Fargo stands accused of disproportionately denying
minority consumers favorable loans while targeting them for subprime ones with
high interest rates, mandatory arbitration clauses and punitive prepayment
In court papers, Elizabeth Jacobson, who was one of Wells
Fargo�s top loan officers said, �Wells Fargo mortgages had an emerging markets
unit that specifically targeted black churches, because it figured church
leaders had a lot of influence and could convince congregants to take out
According to another bank officer, the bank even used
software, �to translate marketing materials into various languages, including
something called �African American.� Tony Paschal (that second loan officer)
contends that the subprimes had sub-names -- �ghetto loans� -- their recipients
This isn�t small stuff. It�s huge. Wells Fargo has faced
similar complaints since the 1990s and Baltimore�s just one example. Similar
suits have been filed in Texas, Tennessee, and California. And Wells Fargo,
which denies the charges, is not alone. Joining them are most if not all of the
nation�s top bailout recipients including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup.
If the president really wants the economy to bounce back,
confidence needs to be restored.
Wells Fargo -- which, according to the FCC, gave out nearly
$1 million in campaign contributions and spent $3.6 million lobbying federal
officials in the same period -- stands accused.
We�ve become all too familiar with banks deemed �too big to
fail.� Are some also too big to jail?
F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders the host of GRITtv which
broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on
cable, public television and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com.