Established readers may know that we published an extensive series in 2013 documenting pervasive abuses by Bank of America and PNC how they ran the Independent Foreclosure Review. That program was mandated by the OCC and Fed to require banks to investigate foreclosure abuses in 2009 and 2010 and compensate wronged homeowners.
The nine whistleblowers that we ultimately interviewed, starting with a single source who contacted the site, included extensive internal documents, as well as an economic model the scale and cost of the reviews, and an estimate of how much the consultant that was papering over the abuses at Bank of America earned from the exercise.
We were told by Congressional insiders that this account was so definitive that no one in the press or among the regulators, dared to defend the foreclosure reviews after that.
Given how much Congressional and media interest there deservedly is in the Wells Fargo scandal, we are very unlikely to play a similar role. However, our series of post does demonstrate that we can connect the dots and do original analysis in a way that is outside the purview of traditional media, and that in turn can advance the exposure of misconduct, not just of the immediate perps but that of other forms of outside enablers.
We had a reader contact us in the comments section of a recent Wells post alleging that they saw misconduct first hand:
I am a former Wells Fargo Bank employee who was never promoted because I refuse to do what it took to meet my goals. I was a lead teller for 4 years trained many tellers who went on to be other things within the bank because they sold bogus or unnecessary products to clients. Many of the tellers that went on to do other things I went head to head in interviews but was told I wasn’t qualified (because my numbers didn’t meet protocol). My final straw was when a teller that I trained (who had no prior banking experience) and I applied for a job as a service manager they chose the other less experienced person over me. The person they hired would come to me asking me how to do this that and the other. I refused to train a person whom I would have to report to a lead teller. I am wondering how and IF I should look into this class action lawsuit. I missed out of wages and opportunities because of the bogus sales ethics.
Anyone who knows retail banking will likely regard it as unheard to have a teller claim that they were involved in pushing Wells products. That’s not what tellers are normally asked to do. Yet by happenstance, a regular reader had sent along this tidbit by e-mail in late September:
Just FYI…I’ve worked for WF since XXXX (but on the technology side since XXXX). However, when my previous bank (First Security) was bought up, the tellers were stunned to learn they were going to have to sell products. The pressure has been there for years and years. I am so not surprised to learn about this.
So if you worked at Wells and saw bad conduct first hand, particularly retaliation against whistleblowers or employees who otherwise objected to unreasonable sales targets or bad practices, please let us know about it. The most valuable sort of information is documents, such as manuals and internal memos.
There are two ways to contact us. If you are ex-Wells, you can use the comments section and provide your e-mail address so we can follow up. If you are currently at Wells, have records, or are concerned about your confidentiality, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to write “Wells Fargo whistleblower” in the subject line.
And to reassure you: New York has very strong shield laws protecting journalists’ sources and courts have found bloggers sources to be entitled to the same level of protection.