Wells Fargo, the stagecoach from hell, is accused of literally railroading many black customers into an abyss of endless mortgage woes, many cases leading to foreclosure. It is a shame, but this reminds me of the Jamaican legend of Annie Palmer, the “White Witch of Rose Hall,” who inflicted untold pain and anguish to many slaves, even allegedly poisoning her husbands until one brave person took matters in his own hands and killed her. Yes, Wells Fargo is getting a dose of its own medicine. In the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis, the illegal and unsavory practices of many of the mortgage lenders are slowly coming to light. The claims filed against Wells Fargo by the city of Baltimore — and reported in the last week by the Baltimore Sun and New York Times — are pretty shocking and damning, to say the least.
The suit has accused against the bank of using a range of deceptive practices to push high-interest, subprime loans onto African-Americans in Baltimore and the Maryland suburbs, leading hundreds into foreclosure. Former loan officers Tony Paschal and Elizabeth Jacobson have signed the affidavits and their statements are damning. Paschal said “Wells Fargo targeted black communities for bad loans by focusing on African-American churches, using black employees as its public face, and using software to translate marketing materials into various languages, including something called “African American.” Watch Wells Fargo try to spin this and infer that these two former employees had an ox to grind. At this point, with foreclosures still in the stratosphere, I am inclined to believe these two people.
The affidavits were offered as evidence in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Baltimore last year and amended Monday, alleging “tens of millions” of dollars in losses from racist, predatory lending, known as “reverse redlining”- the targeting of minority borrowers, regardless of credit history, for unfavorable subprime loans. The city says the practice led to increased foreclosures, vacant properties and crime in black communities.”Our minority residents and homeowners, many of whom were first-time buyers, were led down a disastrous primrose path by Wells Fargo, one of the biggest lenders in the city of Baltimore,” City Solicitor George Nilson said in an interview Wednesday.”We’re trying to do what we can to get some kind of redress.”
In an 825-page amended complaint filed Monday, city attorneys attached 20 exhibits, including the employee declarations, 10 studies about reverse redlining and statements from Baltimore residents about the problems of living near foreclosed-upon, vacant homes. They also filed a motion asking that a hearing scheduled for later this month, to determine whether their suit holds water, be “reconsidered” based on the information. Source: The Baltimore Sun
Then they wonder why the push for black empowerment, to do business with our own people is in full swing. Check out Talking Points Memo for an interesting commentary on this debacle.