Daily Archives: November 24, 2016

Wells Fargo asks for lawsuits to be arbitrated outside court

Wells Fargo is asking for dozens of its customers to resolve lawsuits they’re bringing through private arbitration, instead of court.

The bank asked the U.S. District Court in Utah to order its customers to settle their disputes outside the court, according to legal documents filed Wednesday. The motion is in response to a class action lawsuit Wells Fargo is facing for opening 2 million deposit and credit card accounts without permission from customers.

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Florida woman files class action against Wells Fargo for ‘phony’ accounts

A Florida woman launched a class-action lawsuit against Wells Fargo Bank after employees created millions of fraudulent accounts nationwide.

Brandon resident Nadine Stanton is suing on behalf of herself and others affected by the fraudulent accounts created by employees of the California-based banking giant. Stanton is a practice manager at United Vein Centers.

Stanton is claiming to be one of thousands of victims of the bank’s “colossal scheme” where they broke the law in numerous ways including using private information and data without consent.

Without permission of customers, employees performed several unauthorized tasks — opened accounts, transferred funds, applied for credit cards, received debit cards, and enrolled in online banking services.

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Dozens of Wells Fargo Employees Filed Whistleblower Complaints with Feds, New Data Shows

Dozens of Wells Fargo employees filed whistleblower complaints with the federal government, alleging the company retaliated against them for raising red flags about corporate and consumer financial fraud, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has learned.

The new data, provided by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), reveals that as early as 2010, both Wells Fargo and the government knew about widespread concerns involving the nation’s third largest bank. The numbers were released earlier this month in response to an inquiry by the Investigate Unit.

OSHA’s “preliminary analysis” shows the administration received 65 retaliation complaints across the country from 2010 to September of this year. Wells Fargo complainants sent their cases to the administration’s Whistleblower Protection Program, which is tasked with enforcing various whistleblower laws.

This information has come to light as another former investigator revealed what she believes are flaws in the program designed to protect employees from retaliation. Last month, a former longtime whistleblower investigator detailed how he believes his office mishandled the case of a Bay Area Wells Fargo employee.

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Trump’s transition advisor for financial regulations works for a firm that is emblematic of the Washington revolving door

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition-team adviser on financial policies and appointments, Paul Atkins, has been depicted as an ideological advocate of small government. But the ways that the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans are likely to approach financial deregulation could serve Atkins’ wallet as well as his political agenda. Like Trump himself, Atkins himself faces potential conflicts between his business dealings and his public role.

In 2009, a year after he finished his term as a Republican member of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Atkins formed Patomak Global Partners, a consulting firm headquartered on 17th Street, nestled blocks from the Hay-Adams Hotel and the south lawn of the White House. While Trump promised to “drain the swamp” of Washington, Atkins’ environs could not get any swampier. Patomak’s president is Daniel Gallagher, also a right-leaning former SEC commissioner who might be a candidate for SEC chairman under Trump. Former high-level government officials populate Patomak’s ranks.

Patomak has thrived as financial firms tried to navigate the new world of post-crisis regulations. Patomak and its counterparts, like Promontory Financial Group, are not technically lobbyists, but they exploit their connections to regulators to help their clients — banks and other financial institutions — navigate the rules. (Such consulting firms say they help clients comply with, not circumvent, the rules. A Patomak spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.)

The firms stand as emblems of the Washington revolving door. Banks pay a premium to former high-level regulators, valuing them for their contacts at the regulatory agencies. Stacked with Republicans, Patomak is well positioned to benefit from the new power structure in Washington. “They have better lines of communications with those in power. They are better able to see and understand what is coming down the pike,” says one former high-ranking regulator who now works for a hedge fund.

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