Philadelphia – April 7, 2017 – Today, Councilwoman Cindy Bass (8th District) thanked the Kenney Administration for following up on her efforts to remove Wells Fargo as an authorized City depository based on its history of unethical banking practices.
During Thursday’s Council session, the Administration transmitted two bills, which Councilwoman Bass co-sponsored, that would remove Wells Fargo as a depository for City employee payroll by the end of 2017 and enter into a contract with Citizens Bank for these services. Wells Fargo is responsible for payroll deposits that average $170 million monthly and $2.04 billion annually. However, the legislation does not permanently remove Wells Fargo from the list of approved City depository banks, which Bass calls for doing as soon as possible.
Last fall Bass introduced legislation calling on the City to completely divest from Wells Fargo in response to the bank’s fraudulent actions that resulted in thousands of customers nationwide having credit lines and other accounts established in their name without their authorization. Wells Fargo employees were pressured to implement a practice known as “cross-selling” in order to reach the mandated quota of eight new accounts or banking products for unauthorized credit cards issued to customers. The bank fired at least 5,300 employees who followed these practices—90% of whom were non-management and paid hourly.
“I am gratified that there is finally some movement on this issue as there has been a huge public outcry both here and throughout our country,” Bass stated.
“Wells Fargo has faced and settled numerous predatory lending cases filed by American cities and the federal government,” Bass continued, “so we must carefully evaluate the performance of every financial institution with which the City does business. It is not responsible to award these lucrative contracts to companies with policies that defraud customers or exploit vulnerable communities.”
Since news of the Wells Fargo scandal came to light, public officials in numerous cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Seattle have all announced that they are either going to move business away from Wells Fargo or consider doing so. “We could have been a leader in this,” Bass stated “but it is never too late to do the right thing.”
The bills proposed will be heard in Council’s Committee on Finance, of which Bass is a member.
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Councilwoman Cindy Bass represents the 8th Council District, which includes Germantown, Mt. Airy, Nicetown, Tioga, Chestnut Hill, portions of Logan, and West Oak Lane. She is Chair of Council’s committees on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and Public Health and Human Services.
Photo: Ildar Sagdejev, used under Creative Commons license.