By: Kourosh Behnam
February 24, 2012
HISTORY: Bloody from the beginning
- Henry Wells and William Fargo founded WFB in 1852 when California’s Gold Rush needed to move the money made from mining the Sierra Nevada and violently evicting its indigenous people;
- WFB bought the subprime mortgage monster Wachovia in the 2008 financial panic for $15.1 billion;
- WFB is now America’s biggest bank, by market capitalization of $161 billion, and the highest rate of profitability.
BLOATED BANKSTERS: Too Big to Jail
- Federal taxpayer bailout received, $36.9 billion;
- Effective tax rate in 2008, 18.5%, almost half of what the average person pays;
- Offshore subsidiares in tax havens, 77;
- Campaign contributions in 2008 federal elections, $4.7 million.
FORECLOSE FAMILIES: Growth from Homelessness and Hopelessness
- WFB originated or co-issued $74.2 billion worth of subprime loans, making it one of the top subprime lenders in the country;
- WFB was one of the 5 big banks who “robo-signed”, or foreclosed on houses with forged or unreviewed documentation, on countless families;
- WFB is the second largest mortgage servicer in the nation; they also used the “robo signer”.
HOLDING YOUNG PEOPLE HOSTAGE: Profits from Indentured Students
- WFB holds $10 billion in private student loans, the average American student graduates $25,000 in debt;
- Interest rates on WFB student loans are near 18%; unlike credit cards, these loans are impossible to discharge in bankruptcy, and WFB is not offering to reduce the principal or interest rates;
- Outstanding student loans total more than $979 billion; WFB financies today’s “education bubble.
RIGGING GLOBAL FINANCE RULES:
WFB sponsored the global banking lobbyist group, the International Institute for Finance, 2011 annual meeting in Washington, where the world’s most powerful banks tell government regulators what they want.