Fake Accounts Scandal Threatens City Government's Relationship with Wells Fargo

The City of Philadelphia is reviewing its longstanding relationship with Wells Fargo & Co. after the bank was fined $185 million and fired 5,300 employees due to its sales tactics scandal.

On the heels of the state of California suspending doing business with the San Francisco-based bank for the next 12 months, a spokesman for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said, “The city is currently evaluating that relationship.”

City Council unanimously passed a resolution, sponsored by Councilwoman Cindy Bass, on Thursday calling for council to investigate the impact of the scandal on Philadelphia residents and consider whether the city should “deposit or invest taxpayer funds in financial institutions such as Wells Fargo, which promote policies that defraud its customers, blame its non-management employees for executive decisions, and has a history of predatory lending practices against minorities."

The predatory lending claim emanates from a $175 million settlement in July 2012 between Wells Fargo and the U.S. Department of Justice regarding claims of discrimination related to the bank’s subprime mortgages. The Justice Department said at the time that it was the second largest fair lending settlement in its history.

In a statement, Wells Fargo noted that its relationship with the city has existed for 48 years.

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