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Why would you expect these people to behave differently if their kind are never punished for their actions? What reason is there to expect that this won’t keep happening over and over again until there are consequences?

Cory Doctorow:

Stumpf, who appears to have put his fist through a wall, did not handle himself well. Naked Capitalism’s Yves Smith parses through his blunders and suggests that this will likely lead to criminal prosecution, in part because of Stumpf’s unwillingness to consider giving back any of the millions the bank paid to him and his top execs while they turned a blind eye to a fraud that affected 2,000,000 Wells Fargo customers – trashing their credit records, pilfering from their accounts, then hitting them with fines and penalties.

Stumpf also refused to consider calling the credit reporting bureaux to repair the customer credit ratings damaged by his fraud; instead, his bank will take the much more expensive step of phoning each of those customers – and then trying to sell them more Wells Fargo products.

And from a related story by the New York Times:

During the financial crisis, Wells Fargo was at a remove from Wall Street and was not a big player in creating toxic and complex mortgage securities that were engineered to fail. But the bank’s ability to emerge from the crisis with a relatively good reputation is something of a mystery to anyone who paid attention to its aggressive foreclosure activities.

There were enough problematic foreclosure cases involving Wells Fargo moving through the courts that the bank’s dubious practices seemed as pervasive then as the questionable account-opening scheme does now. And some of the elements of both scandals — improper fees and forgeries — are the same.

The only difference: Mr. Stumpf, who was named Wells’s chief executive in 2007, has apologized to the customers his bank harmed with its account opening charade. Lawyers who represented troubled borrowers say no such apology came from Mr. Stumpf during the foreclosure mess.

“Defendant Wells Fargo’s deceptive and intentional conduct displayed a complete and total disregard for the rights” of the couple, wrote Judge Elliott, a circuit judge in the 43rd Judicial District of Missouri. “Wells Fargo took its money and moved on, with complete disregard to the human damage left in its wake.”

Punctuating his view, Judge Elliott cited the testimony of a bank employee who told the court: “I’m not here as a human being. I’m here as a representative of Wells Fargo.”

That about sums it up. Disgusting.

Paul Ciano

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