As much as Democrats enjoy wagging their fingers at all of us racists, homophobes and climate-changers, their first love, borne of longstanding political tradition, is kicking fallen bankers in the nuts. It doesn’t hurt that in the eyes of the Democrats and America’s flourishing grievance industry, many of the perps happen to be privileged white men. Wells Fargo’s bankers in particular have been bludgeoned worse than a pinata at a Cinco de Mayo party, and last summer they paid $575 million to end investigations by 50 states and the District of Columbia.
What did they do to deserve this shakedown? I can answer that question from personal experience, since I was one of the alleged victims. I came to possess about a dozen accounts at Wells, including business and personal checking, credit and debit cards attached to each, assorted savings accounts and related plastic. I didn’t need so many accounts, but Wells cheerfully opened them for me anyway over a period of several years, ostensibly so that I could enjoy all the features and privileges associated with each.
The Lawyers Score Again!
Eventually I was inundated by credit/debit cards, pin numbers and monthly statements showing little or no activity. I brought all of the cards into the bank one day and asked them to purge as many as possible. This they dutifully did, and that was the end of the story, at least for me. But it was just the beginning for a plague of tort lawyers and grandstanding politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren. They did a number on Wells with repercussions that have continued to this day despite the $575 million extortion payment. Most recently, Wells’ CEO resigned — the second to quit in the last two-and-a-half years. He was not under a cloud of scandal, just a capable, well-intentioned guy who’d been grilled one too many times on Capitol Hill.
The lawyers sent me notification of a class action suit, but I threw it in the trash. They undoubtedly are seeking redress on the usual terms — i.e., for each $3.58 check that goes out to an “injured” customer, some law firm will get $14,521. Speaking as Wells’ still-loyal customer, I was never more than mildly annoyed by what they did. Their method of expanding business was aggressive, to be sure, and it sometimes must have confused customers as it did me. But the bank never tried to muscle a dime from me — only offered mortgage deals and loans that I simply declined.
Assuming most customers experienced no worse than I — and that for those who did, it was merely a case of “Kick me, whip me, make me write bad checks!”– it is a travesty for the bank, its officers and shareholders to have been shaken down so brutally. The whole episode is undoubtedly a taste of what is coming if the Democrats capture the Senate and the White House in 2020. This is fair warning, especially to those who cash their $3.58 checks with nary a thought as to its provenance.