Tag Archives: Wells Fargo

See Americas Biggest Bank Run From Its Responsibilities

April 25, 2012

Hiding behind riot police and scurrying into alleyways, executives from America’s biggest bank, Wells Fargo, entered their April 24 shareholders’ meeting in San Francisco while hundreds of peaceful protesters stood outside demanding accountability and justice. Inside,  several proxy shareholders were arrested as they called to end Wells’ fraudulent foreclosures, tax dodging, predatory lending, profiting from private prisons, and paying-off politicians to rig the rules.

IFG’s Plutonomy Program posits that globalization’s extreme concentrations of wealth and power require people to deal more directly with the individuals at the very top.  So we stood in solidarity with over400 events organized by Occupy, families fighting foreclosure, indebted students, immigrants’ rights groups, and even Wells’ own workers, as they blocked-off several streets in SF’s Financial District.  See this video of a foreclosure fighter sharing her story at IFG’s recent Teach-in on Wells Fargo.

John Stumpf, American banking’s highest-paid CEO who made almost $20M in 2011, called the shareholders’ meeting to order inside while, outside, janitors who clean Wells’ offices told the crowd how profits were squeezed from cutting workers’ healthcare and holding down wages.  But the bank’s record profits in 2011 were driven mainly by mortgages, where Well’s ruthless “Robo-signing” practices continue to foreclose on families, 84% of which in SF were found to be “clear violations of law” by a recent report from the City Attorney.

Warren Buffet, Wells’ single biggest shareholder, owns almost twice as many shares as any other investor.  His legendary investment fund, Berkshire Hathaway, has made him America’s second wealthiest man (after Bill Gates) with a personal net worth of $44B. Buffet has been in the news lately as the namesake of  President Obama’s proposed “Buffett Rule” which would  begin to  reverse years of  regressive taxation in America. Buffett says his secretary now pays taxes on a higher proportion of her income than Buffett himself pays.  That’s because capital gains are now taxed at  only 15% while wages are taxed at almost double the rate. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo avoided ALL taxes from 2008–2010.

The current U.S. tax code’s discrimination against workers’ wages in favor of capital investment has been a driving force of increasing inequality in America, where now almost 1 in 2  Americans is either in poverty, or near poverty.  While Buffett positions himself to champion more progressive tax policies, he is even more powerfully poised—as the most influential shareholder of America’s biggest bank—to reduce record inequality by lowering his expectations on the earnings from his own investments.  Otherwise, shareholder profits made by reducing the healthcare costs of Wells’ janitors could, strangely, shift from Buffet to the Gates Foundation, whose philanthropy aims to “improve healthcare.”  The Buffet Rule would work more effectively if Buffet ruled less ruthlessly by insisting on more realistic returns for his investments.

IFG and allies will continue to call upon  those corporations and individuals who  benefit most from—and are therefore most responsible  for—today’s financial system that is destroying people and the planet.

Read More: Protesting The Wells Fargo Shareholder’s Meeting, 24 Arrested At Wells Fargo ProtestActivists Disrupt Wells Fargo Shareholders Meeting



April 17, 2012

Last week, IFG partnered with San Francisco’s community based organizations and local Occupy activists to organize a Teach-in about America’s biggest bank, Wells Fargo, in preparation for their shareholders’ meeting in SF on April 24.

Check out this three-minute video to see why grassroots groups want to shutdown Wells.  The free public event provided a platform for families fighting foreclosure, indebted studentsimmigrants’ rights advocates, private prisons criticsOccupiers, and others impacted by Wells Fargo, to tell their stories.  Participants also heard about how to get involved, including training in non-violent direct action.

IFG’s Plutonomy Program works with grassroots groups to address globalization’s extreme concentrations of wealth and power that are corrupting democracy and destroying the planet through a financial system out of control.   America’s biggest bank deserves everyone’s attention.
See: http://stopwellsfargo.com/en/ for more about the actions around Wells Fargo’s Shareholders meeting
  • Tuesday, April 24, 10:00am
  • Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco

Wells Fargo Bank Teach-In At SFSU

By: Kourosh Behnam
April 3, 2012

Read More: What You Should Know About Wells Fargo Bank, Wealth And Power Today , Student Debt Hits $1 Trillion

What You Should Know About Wells Fargo Bank (WFB)

Bloated Banksters

Bloated Banksters

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.


  •  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.

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.

Read More: Auction 2012: Greedy Bastards and Student Debt, Big Bank Profile: Wells Fago , Average Student Loan Debt