Saturday, September 10, 2016

Allowing Wells Fargo To Cheat Their Customers Is An Integral Component Of Paul Ryan's #BetterWay


House Republicans and their New Dem/Blue Dog allies have made crippling and chipping away at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) their top priority and they are always looking for opportunities to hamper the agencies operations. Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee, along with right-wing Democrats on the committee who work for Wall Street-- like Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL), Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ), John Delaney (New Dem-MD), Gregory Meeks (New Dem-NY), David Scott (New Dem-GA) and Jim Himes (New Dem-CT)-- have been busy little bees working to chip away at Dodd-Frank protections, especially those that are part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Almost a year ago Elizabeth Warren said she wasn't surprised "that the big banks and Republicans are attacking me or the CFPB. After all, in just four years, the brand-new consumer agency has already forced the biggest financial companies to return more than $11 billion directly to the people they cheated. And even on Wall Street, $11 billion is real money. But I am surprised by just how bold and shameless these new attacks are." Here's a misleading Orwellian TV ad the banksters financed to attack the CFPB at the time:

This week, exactly what the Republicans and New Dems were trying to prevent happened-- and spectacularly so. The CFPB forced a major campaign donor for corrupt members of Congress, Wells Fargo, to pay a $185 million fine for stealing from its customers. The bank was caught systematically using "illegal sales practices that included the opening of unauthorized duplicate accounts and credit cards by employees in order to meet sales quotas" without informing the customers.
"Wells Fargo employees secretly opened unauthorized accounts to hit sales targets and receive bonuses," said CFPB director Richard Cordray. "Because of the severity of these violations, Wells Fargo is paying the largest penalty the CFPB has ever imposed."

In a statement, Wells Fargo said it "reached these agreements consistent with our commitment to customers and in the interest of putting this matter behind us."

...Cordray said: "Today’s action should serve notice to the entire industry that financial incentive programs, if not monitored carefully, carry serious risks that can have serious legal consequences."
The Wells Fargo executives who were behind the scandal, face exactly zero sanctions whatsoever. The big, scary fine comes from the company's shareholders, not the crooked executives, and the 5,300 employees being fired are all low-level working stiffs who, in opening a million and a half unauthorized accounts and issuing 600,000 unauthorized credit cards, were being terrorized by the higher-ups and thought they were following orders from their bosses who dangled bonuses under their noses and threatened them with unemployment if they didn't follow the implied orders in a pressure-cooker culture that was first exposed in 2013.

The CFPB order doesn't include any provisions for Wells Fargo to admit any wrong-doing. Yes, there was a public apology, but no sanctions on the guilty and no admission that the company did anything wrong. This shouldn't be over. The Department of Justice and the SEC should open investigations and prosecute the real culprits so that it isn't just low-level tellers who are made the scapegoats. And if the banksters want to maintain the fiction that they didn't know, then, clearly the bank is too big to manager and has to be broken up into more manageable pieces. That could never happen under an Obama presidency, of course; that's not what they do. What about under President Hillary?

So far this cycle, Wells Fargo's PAC has contributed $847,200 to federal candidates, 66% to Republicans and 34% to Democrats. They particularly target their bribes towards members of Congress well-placed to help them create a regulatory environment that allows them to cheat their customers with impunity, the way Wells Fargo was caught doing.

Sean Duffy always bragged how he'd take an ax to agencies that protect consumers

Wells Fargo's biggest 2016 bribe was paid to Sean Duffy (R-WI), the extraordinarily crooked chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, who is the only member of either house of Congress to get over $10,000. Notorious Wall Street puppets like Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Budget Committee chairman Tom Price, Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, Senate Agriculture Committee's Chair of the Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management and Trade John Boozman and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer each "only" got $10,000 pops this cycle but Duffy, whose subcommittee has done more to enable Wells Fargo's criminal behavior than any other congressional grouping took a nice fat $15,000 legalistic bribe from the very people he's in charge of exercising oversight over!

This year's dozen Members of the House Financial Services Committee who took the biggest bribes from Wells Fargo to make it easier for the banksters to get away with ripping off its customers:
Sean Duffy (R-WI)- $15,000
Ed Royce (R-CA)- $10,000
Frank Lucas (R-OK)- $10,000
Dennis Ross (R-FL)- $9,000
Robert Pittenger (R-NC)- $7,500
Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)- $7,500
Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)- $7,500
Jeb Hensarling, chairman (R-TX)- $7,500
Tom Emmer (R-MN)- $7,500
Mick Mulvaney (R-SC)- $7,500
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)- $7,500
French Hill (R-AR)- $7,500
Duffy has the misfortune of having an effective and determined opponent this cycle, Mary Hoeft, who beat her primary opponent last month with over 80% of the vote. When she read about the Wells Fargo settlement Thursday, she issued this brief statement: "Sean Duffy, chair of a congressional banking oversight subcommittee, accepted more than $400,000 in political contributions from bankers to use against me in this campaign. At the very least, Sean should have acknowledged the ethical dilemma he faced when accepting money from the bankers he oversees. That doesn't appear to be the case. He is doubling down on his efforts to cripple the Consumer's Financial Protection Bureau, the very agency designed by Elizabeth Warren and others to make sure Big Banks are never able to bring our economy to its knees again--an economy where 7 million Americans lost their homes to bankruptcy." Blue America has endorsed Mary Hoeft and you can help her replace the ethically unfit Duffy by tapping on the thermometer below:
Goal Thermometer

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At 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Fed regulates the big bank holding companies like Wells and Citigroup; the FDIC and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) regulate the smaller banks. It is within the remit of these bank regulators (who also perform bank examinations) to pressure the employers of people who run scams like the one at Wells, to get them fired.

Yes, the regulators have that kind of administrative power. Obama could make them use it. He could set a precedent, which could hopefully become a habit. Unlikely, I know, given the contributors to the major Presidential candidates right now, but still...

At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think these executives should be charged for these crime and go to jail. Who's with me? Oh... the majority of the country agrees with this, yet it doesn't happen? Majority loses.

At 1:36 AM, Blogger Blu Loony said...

A spokesperson for Wells Fargo said, “majority of our team members do work hard to do what’s in customers’ best interest.” Wells Fargo please help me and stop destroying my life for no reason. Tell the truth and regain your integrity Wells Fargo. This is happening to me right now, Wells Fargo please help me and be honest. I have outlined the destruction Wells Fargo is causing in my life at:

At 7:05 AM, Blogger jvb2718 said...

Isn't it time to quit calling them "New Ds" or "blue dogs"?

If it isn't banks, it's defense contractors, extractors, polluters, insurance and on and on and on.

Name one D who isn't on the take. I'll wait.

You think Warren isn't grifting? She endorsed and has been campaigning for the most corrupt (by all of the above) pos that ever slapped a "D" next to its name... presumably ONLY for the DNC sugar for her next re-election. It certainly ain't out of any kind of principle.

And you can correctly lambaste the list of Rs along with the Ds for being corrupt m-fs, but you should look backward and also note that both dodd and frank were, at times, chairs of their respective banking oversight committees... and they also took large sums from banks... and their seminal lege bearing their names is largely impotent in doing anything much to prevent the next 2007 crash... and is impotent by design. If you were paying attention, you'd have noticed that dodd and frank iteratively spiked clauses and amendments to their pretend bill that WOULD have resulted in real reform. It was the second-best boffo performance of that admin next to the virtuoso obamneycare melodrama staged primarily by dame harriet reid. Sadly the academies failed to recognize that performance in the biggest acting snub in history.


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