UPDATE: Following the release of “The Shotgun Please…” both California and more recently New York, have turned their backs on Wells Fargo. Calpers, the massive California pension plan announced a suspension of their business with Wells. New York intends to complete current engagements with the bank and then bring the relationship to an end. Regardless of the true intention behind these moves, the pain for the bank will be real. Now Wells Fargo is living beneath true resistance. With all of this who needs a bank hostage/suicide by cop incident?
Swerving up the on-ramp into sporadic traffic I spot the guy hunched deep in the bed of a pickup truck. Hugging a pump-action shotgun, he eyes me. O.k., things happen. But what does one do? Do you trust him? The market’s like a highway and things happen. Big banks can act like triple-trailers shuttering in a gritty wind. Do you trust them? Do you hold any positive regard?
Crime and the banks did you ask? Right. The fact is that big banks can’t help themselves.
Big money power breeds big-head crazy, eventually. Think Enron again. No treatment exists.
How long? Answer–always. Do the top executives of our best and brightest companies truly demonstrate many of the same traits seen in sociopaths–as a recent study concluded? “What has been is what will be…and there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes did not anchor his portfolio with bank stocks, but he was in one prime way correct. It will all happen again.
An employee of an American bank in London might devise a way to fly his crazy trading schemes under the radar. Lovely creature.
That could happen–did happen. That single JPM trader based in London lost more than 6 billion of JPM’s–oops, customer’s money. That means deposits, certificates, and everything else. Perfect clarity rarely exists, yet it appears no one at JPM lost a dime over the thrashing of the London Whale. No actual criminality may have occurred here, at least nothing of interest to our Department of Justice. Regardless, for shareholders the massive loss proved a very rude surprise.
Real crime you ask? How about almost bringing down the entire financial system with subprime mortgages packaged into even worse and more tortured vehicles known as CDOs, collateralized debt obligations . JPM paid 13 billion in ’13 over mortgage-backed securities it sold. Bank of America paid 17 billion for the same crimes. Not a penny of that money went directly to restore any of those savaged by this veritable rampage of greed.
Have you seen them–the stage coach spots? Wells Fargo is in full-bore damage control. The bank is banking on you, again. They love you, again–and want your trust, again. Go ahead. Open an account–no need to monitor your statements because “We’re all good, again.” Wells is appealing directly to the very retail customers they systematically targeted and victimized. Is this really any different from unloading a garbage truck on your customer’s front lawn at 3:00 am, then simply shrugging the whole thing off when discovered by saying “We’re committed to you now–and don’t ya forget it. We fired all those people.”
If trust is such an asset why do large financial institutions treat trust with flaming disdain?
Have we grown indifferent in the presence of such smash-mouth illegality? Banking crime, that’s what it is, effects real retail customers, real tax payers, real employees of nearly every kind. The study results remain the same. The higher the stakes, the more likely people are to behave unethically.
What did Wells do? Out of thin air Wells Fargo created 2 million fake accounts–fraud, systematic fraud; charged fees on said fraudulent accounts–theft, systematic theft, not to mention all applicable federal banking regulation violations. Even in sentence fragment form the brute fruad reads the same way; two million fake accounts. “Hey, free fees,” they must have thought.
When publicly exposed Wells shoved 5400 employees overboard. These now former employees were simply acceding to the heavy-handed directives of management. Next, the bank’s CEO John Stumpf strode up Capitol Hill and promptly blamed the entire fiasco on employees, while simultaneously claiming “the buck stops here.” Yet the bank was not done. Wells Fargo proved so distraught over their systematic rip-off that they cleaned house by promoting a tenured senior Wells insider to replace Stumpf. If you enjoy this type of institutional behavior, then start following the antics of the International Olympic Committee.
Was it a Friday night in New York amid the din-filled confusion following the sub-prime meltdown?
Big Banks following the Friday night phone call. “It’s the president.”
A call went to the C suite of each Wall Street bank. The White House was calling. Obama was sweeping all the big bank heads to Washington for a meeting set to determine their very future. For the first time in two generations the president held in his hand the opportunity to impose banking reform. A sour stink curled the room and Timothy Geithner was preaching caution and Paul Volcker urging biblical wrath. The bank collective pupped-up to the president, hafging on every processed word. Obama’s campaign refrains yet rattled in my ears “Clean up Wall Street.” What did Obama do? Nothing, except crack open the Treasury vault and hand out push carts for bank presidents to wheel out more money than anyone could count. Business as usual had resumed.
UPDATE; The evening of the initial appearance of “The Shotgun Please…” JP Morgan Chase became, again, the subject of federal scrutiny. The basics are JPM violated federal law by the illegal hiring of children of high-ranking Chinese government trade officials, in an attempt to influence trade policy.
UPDATE; 5-13-17. New reports state the number of fraudulent accounts created by Wells Fargo exceeds 3 million, even 3.5 million.
Images sourced from Pixabay.