|Wells Fargo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Like many large-scale companies, Wells Fargo has attracted many vocal detractors who protest their business practices, customer service, fee levels, and other aspects of the company. There is even a project [ 22 ] dedicated to tracking all alleged instances of corporate malfeasance, especially ongoing investigations into alleged predatory lending practices [ 23 ] in Wells' mortgage division.
Wells Fargo has been the target of activist actions because they are one of the largest investors into the GEO Group. [ 24 ] [ 25 ] The GEO Group operates private prisons and immigrant detention facilities which have been criticized for serious abuses of detainees. [ 26 ] [ 27 ] Also see GEO Group Controversy
In September 2003, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sought information about the lending practices of Wells Fargo and other national banks. Two suits seeking injunctive relief were filed against Spitzer, one by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency and one by the Clearinghouse association of banks, asserting that Spitzer had no authority to regulate the activities of national banks. The suits both resulted in the granting of injunctive relief preventing the continuation of Spitzer's efforts to obtain bank information, including Wells Fargo information.
In December 2005, the parachurch group Focus on the Family ended its banking relationship [ 28 ] with Wells Fargo. This was due to Wells Fargo's support of the gay rights movement when the company announced that it was matching contributions to GLAAD. Wells Fargo continued the program and received widespread support in the face of the boycott, which had no other high-profile participants.
The relationship between the bank's Board of Directors and its shareholders has at times been contentious. The Board of Directors has recommended voting against every single shareholder proposal since 2002. [ 29 ] Many of these proposals were warnings to the company, heeding them to stop predatory lending and other controversial practices.
Currently the corporation and its' America's Servicing Company operation is being sued in Florida alleging racketeering and Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices in its' mortgage servicing and foreclosure activities ( Heinrich v. Wells Fargo, America's Servicing Company, et al., Broward County Circuit Court Case No. 08-18999 CACE (13) ). The suit alleges that Wells Fargo operates this servicing activity out of its' own offices using the name America's Servicing Company without notifying the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency or registering the name in the states that it conducts these activities under, and that Wells has either lost, failed to record mortgage instruments, or deliberately has committed fraud in its loan servicing and foreclosure operations.
Further information and documentation on the ties and operations of Wells Fargo and America's Servicing Company are available at http://www.americasservicingcompany.info
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