Wells Fargo accused of targeting illegal aliens in order to get new accounts opened

A lawsuit against Wells Fargo says branches across the country deliberately went after "undocumented immigrants" to open checking and savings accounts in order to meet demanding sales goals.

Former employees described the scheme, in which Spanish-speaking employees would visit places they knew were frequented by immigrants.

These places included construction sites and a 7-Eleven.

They would then drive the immigrants to a branch and talk them in to opening an account. Some employees would even give the immigrants $10 apiece to start an account. 

It wouldn't be a surprise if Wells Fargo did this. It goes along perfectly with former employees' reports of insane sales quotas and out of control management.

Under the Bank Secrecy and Patriot Acts, banks have to have a customer identification program that give reasonable assurance that account holders are who they say they are.

Illegal aliens can open accounts as long as they have a driver's license and an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number from the IRS.

The IRS gives out those numbers, which are like social security numbers, without regard to immigration status.

Denny Russo, who worked at Wells Fargo from 2008 to 2011, said the branch manager told Latino employees to "corral" Hispanic day workers who would stand in front of a Petaluma 7-Eleven.

Russo said:

“The Wells Fargo employees were instructed to ‘round up’ a group of the undocumented workers and drive them back to the Wells Fargo branch to open up checking and savings accounts in exchange for ‘waiving’ check-cashing fees that the day laborers would otherwise have to pay. My colleagues constantly went to and from this location to try to meet their sales goals. Based on discussions with other Wells Fargo employees and managers, I was aware that these practices ... were also widespread throughout the state of California.”

Click here to read the full piece at the SF Chronicle. There are more accounts from Wells Fargo employees who have stories just like Denny Russo's.


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