Wells Fargo All About Serving Customers? Not So Much, Mr. Stumpf.

“People are surprised when I say this: Our number-one goal when we get up in the morning is not about making money. It’s about serving customers.”
~John Stumpf, Wells Fargo

If you’ve done business with Wells Fargo in the past 10 years or so – especially if you’ve had a mortgage or other loan “serviced” by WF – you know what a huge line of BS John Stumpf is feeding CNBC’s infotainment “investment analyst” Jim Cramer in this clip.

The former Wall Street hedge fund manager has to be particularly blind and deaf if he believes that Wells Fargo hasn’t taken part in the same list of ethically-reprehensible activities designed to defraud customers and make money for the bank: robosigning, forging foreclosure documents, predatory mortgage lending in minority communities, manipulating debit card transaction to generate overdrafts, and forcing mortgage borrowers into price-gouging home insurance.

The company even gets complaints for its handling of student loans and paid to settle a lawsuit regarding its debt-collection processes by harassing consumers, who are generally protected by specific debt-collection law. How Cramer can appear to be such a cheerleader for Stumpf & Co. in light of all this is beyond me, but he certainly seems to take everything the CEO says as absolute truth.

Certainly Stumpf wasn’t being entirely truthful when he told Cramer that the good and noble Wells Fargo wasn’t making all those dubious “liar loans” like other mortgage banks. Apparently they lost so much money resisting the temptation to create all sorts of mortgages people were unlikely to ever pay back that when the economy went bust they could buy out another bank of roughly equal size. Hmmm.

“So there was times between 2000 and 2008 where other mortgage lenders,
as an example, were making loans with nothing down, no verification – the so-called liar loans. And we didn’t participate in most of that.
So we gave up billions of originations, hundreds of millions of profibut then when everything came apart, we were able to use out capital to buy out Wachovia.”
~John Stumpf, Wells Fargo

wellsubprimeActual facts fail to support the image of Stumpf on a white steed, riding above the greed-fest that was the mortgage business in the years before the crash. Statistics compiled by the Center for Responsible Lending in a 2004 report show subprime lending going gangbusters at Wells Fargo by 2003. Between 2005 and 2007, the bank made the subprime producers’ top 10 list.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau certainly knows Wells Fargo is no angel when it comes to treatment of customers. Its September monthly complaint reports places WF in the top three banks consumers across the country have issues with regarding both mortgages and the top two regarding debt collection.

And here’s a list of consumer complaint websites, where you can pretty much plug in “Wells Fargo” with whatever topic you like to find people the bank has jerked around.

So, pretty sure that Stumpf the Sanctimonious and his faithful sidekick Cramer the Credulous are telling a blatantly fictional tale about the all-powerful but beautifully benevolant Wells Fargo Bank. Do yourself a big favor and don’t listen to either one of these guys. And, by all means, do not do business with or invest in this lying, cheating bank.