Former Wells Fargo branch manager in S.A. says he was fired for opposing sales tactics

Wells Fargo Bank’s mounting legal woes over its illegal sales tactics now includes a lawsuit filed in Bexar County District Court by a former San Antonio branch manager.

Alex Leal, who was a local Wells Fargo branch manager for more than 15 years, accuses the San Francisco lender of discriminating against him and ultimately firing him for opposing the bank’s “unethical and illegal sales practices.”

Leal, 48, says he was a victim of age discrimination because Wells Fargo sought to hire younger, less-experienced workers who would “buy into (its) scheme of cross-selling items to bank customers that they did not request or need, particularly … credit cards.” He says he was replaced by a 29-year-old.

Read on.

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One response to “Former Wells Fargo branch manager in S.A. says he was fired for opposing sales tactics

  1. Banker Yesenia Guitron’s dismissed Labor Department suit and now the Justice Department’s (DOJ) current request of court subpoenas question how early Wells Fargo knew about escalated complaints regarding unauthorized credit card account openings? DOJ is restricting its search of suits and complaints to 2010 through 2014? Why?

    I began working in the Wells Fargo Executive Office for Card Services and Consumer Lending in October of 1998 and not until the Wells Fargo acquisition of east coast rival Wachovia Bancorp was approved without any serious review of anti-trust and anti-competitive considerations made the elimination of my position as Consumer Advocate redundant in late 2009 did my Wells Fargo Executive Office Manager stop submitting my spread-sheets of complaints escalated to the Board of Directors, Corporate Officers and the regulatory agency, namely the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

    All of my research files and response letters to the complainants were copied to the OCC and my work for those 11 years was audited unannounced. My Annual Performance Reviews reflect numerous commendations for my work, characterizing the categorized case-load as either meeting or exceeding regulatory auditing standards. “Unauthorized credit card account openings” constituted a regular column of complaint escalated to the Board at WF and the OCC for each of those 11 years. Who is claiming they didn’t know of an ongoing problem?

    The national banking collapse and 2008 TARP bail-out of banks under the Bush-Cheney administration that was administered by Treasury Secretary and former CEO of Goldman Sachs, Hank Paulson afforded Wells Fargo the capital reserves that permitted use of their fungible tax-payer granted bail-out money be spent acquiring yet another larger rival bank on the east coast, namely Wachovia.

    My job became redundant a year later in 2009 as Case Manager for Escalated Credit Card and Retail Lending Complaints was terminated. I’d heard the Execs realized that the new reality meant that borrowers needed lenders more than lenders needed borrowers! Who needs a “Consumer Advocate” researching and responding to escalated complaints? Wachovia was purchased not for its consumer loan portfolio or staggering mortgage lending losses, but for its sizable business and retail deposits portfolio.

    That same swollen Wachovia deposits portfolio was later found by the IRS, DEA, Treasury Department and the DOJ to have facilitated Latin American narco-traffic money laundering as any online search will reveal. Yet no objections were raised while Wells Fargo was allowed to acquire yet another bank even though it could not pass a stress test for all of the acquisitions it had trouble digesting while maintaining required capital reserves from the time of the 1998 take-over of Wells Fargo by relatively small Minneapolis-based Norwest Bancorp.

    All my highly commended response letters bearing my research, resolution and my signature on the EXECUTIVE OFFICE of WELLS FARGO CARD SERVICES and CONSUMER LENDING letterhead were audited un-announced by the OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY (OCC) and are on file there for any court-ordered subpoena or for any inquiring journalist to view with a FOIA request. Personal account identifiers can be black-bannered out of such documents as the CIA did when FBI translator Ali Soufan published his book refuting the alleged effectiveness of torture in terrorist prisoner interrogations. Just so you ask the CEO and corporate officers how they can claim on televised hearings with gullible corporate-captured senators, congress-persons and high salaried news media staff that they did not know about the business model generating such revenue streams from retail banking.

    Hey Senator Merkley check your Constituent Correspondence on your .gov website. I’ve been trying to share with you or your staff what I learned in my 11-year tenure as the Canary in the Coal Mine working the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) escalated complaints at Wells Fargo Card Services and Consumer Lending Executive Office in Concord, CA then in Beaverton, OR after the Norwest acquisition of Wells Fargo and their first corporate re-structuring.

    I lost my job to post-acquisition employee and accountholder portfolio consolidation between Wells Fargo and the Wachovia Consumer Advocacy staff after requesting more training when President Obama’s early 2009 White House guest Kevin Rhein who headed our business line at Wells Fargo from his NORWEST HQ\bunker in Minneapolis restructured again after getting a wink and a nod from Treasury and Justice during the TARP BAIL OUT under predecessor Bush-Cheney-Paulson. How can anyone justify allowing distressed and acquisition-crazed WF, despite valid ANTI-TRUST and ANTI-COMPETITIVE CONCERNS to acquire WACHOVIA BANCORP of Charlotte, NC and favored by Latin American narco-traffickers seeking laundering services.

    Nice to see it has since passed muster with Mr Clean Warren Buffett.

    Rhein laid the resolution of escalated securitized loan regulatory complaints on our desk without providing any supplemental training. As you know credit card debt is mostly unsecured consumer lending. From that point through the naming of Elizabeth Warren by President Obama to form the CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION AGENCY up through last week I’ve tried to share with your office the Canary in the Coal Mine view with your staff and with you. No reply, except in your fundraising e-mails bragging about your work on the Finance Committee.

    Same response from Senator Warren, save for no fund-raising e-mail from her since I’m your constituent in Oregon, not hers in Mass.

    Yes, by all means track the Wells Fargo CEO\Chairman of the Board’s joint compensation plan. ‘Joint’ as each job carries its own compensation with no conflict of interest perceived between the CEO’s short-term job and the Chairman of the Board’s Long View Guarding the Best Interests of the Enterprise. Senators Warren and Merkley insinuated at this past summer’s televised grilling of Wells Fargo’s then-current Chairman of the Board\CEO John Stumpf that account boosting led to stock price boosting and isn’t that an undermining of the discredited ratings agencies’ stock valuation which artificially boosted Wells Fargo stock?

    Review the compensation plans of those who devised the business models of Community Banking, namely Carrie Tolstedt and the Chief of the Card Services and Consumer Lending Business line from the time of Norwest Bancorp’s take-over of Wells Fargo. That drew no anti-trust issues to be publicly deliberated upon, or did anyone in Treasury or Justice even look?

    Were no anti-trust regulators watching in 2008 when with the TARP bail-out Wells Fargo was then allowed to take over Wachovia Bancorp of Charlotte, NC, Miami and a model for the Panama Shadow Bankers and Money Launderers? The corporate officer in charge of Wells Fargo Card Services and Consumer Lending was Kevin Rhein. Kevin Rhein would become one of ‘Reform President Elect’ Barack Obama’s first guests in the White House in 2009.

    The former, Corporate Officer of the LLC Tolstedt, was permitted to retire in July with $126 million while the shareholders were fined $185 million for her business model. Rhein retired, compensation unknown in December 2015.

    5300 underpaid Wage Slaves received no cash or stock option bonuses, many already needing SNAP food stamps to cover their families’ expenses were fired by CEO\CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD STUMPF (rhymes with Mein Trumpf).

    Bigger question for the big losers, namely U.S.: A) Employees B) Shareholders C) U.S. E-CON D) Consumers

    I learned more about Corporate Governance, and I learned more about the critical mass of Corporate Malfeasance back then over the 11 years that I served in my position as an WF Card Services and Consumer Lending Regulatory Complaint (OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY aka OCC) Case Manager\Consumer Advocate. The latter job title was bestowed by former CEO Kovacevich with no additional pay above my clerical pay grade, despite signing the executive correspondence filed with the complainants and OCC during those 11 years.

    My single employee-shareholder vote to separate the jobs of running the vertically integrated enterprise that had recently been taken over by smaller Midwestern bank NORWEST BANCORP and the checks & balances job of Directing-Overseeing the Board of Directors was consistently in the minority over the following decade.

    Why aren’t corporate-captured News Media exploring the OUTCOMES of the decision by shareholders to allow the CEO to also serve as Chairman of the Board?

    When I noted that merging the job of CEO (tasked with maximizing profit across business lines) with the checks & balances job of Chairman of the Board of Directors would increase the runaway spread of executives dis-proportionately over-compensating themselves, making short-term profit decisions to boost the stock valuation and then exit stage left with hundreds of millions of dollars in retirement compensation leaving the long-term harm to the enterprise brought by their executive decisions, I was looked at by my co-workers and fellow shareholders as being dis-loyal to “them that brung us to the dance.”

    Yet if the CEO could also serve as Chairman of the Board who was charged with taking the enterprise’s LONG VIEW? Oddly, that question never came up over the course of this past year’s televised spectacle of the Congressional Hearings over Wells Fargo’s transgressions.

    {Creative Commons Copyright}
    Mitch Ritter
    Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa
    Media Discussion List

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