Tennessee Focus: Wells Fargo's Predatory Lending Against Tennessee
Doris Dancy, a former credit manager at a local Wells Fargo & Co. branch, said she wept over what she thought were deceptive tactics used by her employer to get African-Americans to sign risky loans.
"I hated to go to work, and found myself crying at the end of the day," Dancy said. "In January 2008, I voluntarily left Wells Fargo to find different employment where I could feel good about what I was doing."
Dancy and three other former local Wells Fargo employees -- Michael Simpson, Mario Taylor and Camille Thomas -- detail what are described as the company's "predatory and deceptive" practices in an amended complaint to a federal lawsuit Memphis and Shelby County filed against mortgage lender Wells Fargo...
The former employees say Wells Fargo sought out African-Americans with high consumer debt and got them to refinance the debt using their houses as collateral, placing their homes in jeopardy when they hadn't been before.
"What we've found is that the vast number of these loans were refinanced loans," said Webb Brewer of Brewer and Barlow. "These were not people trying to live beyond their means..."
The complaint against Wells Fargo says the company would identify possible customers through their purchases of furniture and jewelry at businesses in African-American areas of the city and county, as well as those who previously had loans with the company.
Credit managers in branch offices were instructed to contact these "leads" to persuade them to apply for new subprime loans with Wells Fargo, according to the lawsuit.
"The way we were told to sell these loans was to explain that we were eliminating the customers' old debt by consolidating their existing debts into one new one," said Dancy, who worked as a credit manager in Wells Fargo's Park Avenue office from 2007 to 2008, in a declaration filed with the court. "This was not really true. We were actually just giving them a new, more expensive loan that put their house at risk."
According to Taylor, who worked at Wells Fargo branch offices in Cordova, Quince Road and Park Avenue from June 2006 to February 2008, Wells Fargo held a dim view of African-Americans.
"The prevailing attitude was that African-American customers weren't savvy enough to know they were getting a bad loan, so we would have a better chance of convincing them to apply for a high-cost, subprime loan," Taylor said in a declaration filed with the court.
Get that? Wells Fargo DELIBERATELY and with FULL RACIST INTENT targeted black families in need and preyed upon them.
I have focused a lot on how horrible Bank of America is...and they are. One of the worst. But this it seems Wells Fargo isn't much better. Simply put it is time we stop giving terrible companies like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, AIG, Goldman Sachs, etc. our money. THEY DO NOT DESERVE IT. Local credit unions, local banks, TD Bank, USAA...these are genuine alternatives that have mostly avoided predatory lending of the kind that Bank of America and Wells Fargo have become so infamous for. And the irony is, the banks that screwed us over with predatory lending are the ones who got taxpayer funded bailouts. Mostly the banks that didn't screw us over with predatory lending didn't get bailout money.
Time to boycott particularly Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Let them know you don't want to do businesses with scum.