"The industry looks at the Wells Fargo disaster as a speed bump in its effort to declaw the CFPB instead of as one more wake-up call. That says all that America needs to know. Banking joins Big Tobacco and Big Sugar in the pantheon of weasels." American Banker – Quote of the Week. September 18, 2016
The Pantheon is a temple in Rome believed to have been constructed in the year 120 A.D. In more modern times, the word (in lower case) means “the heroes or idols” of a group. That American Banker would use a such a quote when discussing Wells Fargo, the nation’s second largest bank, gives us just a little hope.
We are approached by people asking the question, “Can I sue may bank?” The answer, of course, is yes but finding a lawyer to sue a bank can be a challenge.
Banks have a place on our society. Because of banks, we can purchase a home, or expand our business or finance our children’s education. Unfortunately, some banks have lost the way. Many of them, in fact. To them, banking has become synonymous with the almighty worship of money.
When we begin worshipping money, the downward slide is a quick one. The quote that began this post comes in response to the $185 million in fines Wells Fargo must pay for opening approximately 2 million accounts without their customers’ permission. Accounts that would generate monthly fees and in some cases, negative credit scores. Wells Fargo padded its bottom line on the backs of its customers.
In response to the huge clamor from customers, regulators and Congress, Wells Fargo issued a lame and pathetic apology, “We regret and take responsibility for any instances where customers may have received a product that they did not request.”
Do they regret it? The bank says yes and points to 5,500 employees who have been fired for opening these accounts. The one ultimately in charge of this nightmare, however, was allowed to resign and with a $124.6 million severance package! That doesn’t sound like regret to us.
Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has blamed the problem on rogue employees but it is hard to imagine 5,500 employees all decided to go rogue on their own. No, the problem starts with Stumpf himself. Wells Fargo is in hot water because their corporate culture has caused them to go astray. And their culture starts with senior management.
Not only was the Wells Fargo senior vice president, Carrie Tolstedt, in charge of this debacle allowed to resign with over $120 in severance, she was given a $5.5 million bonus after the bank learned that the feds were investigating the bogus accounts. At her recent retirement, Stumpf praised her and said she was both a “role model” and “standard bearer of our culture.
A series of internal Wells Fargo training videos were recently leaked. One has a manager telling branch employees, “Wells Fargo is all about sales and fees, and helping people without selling new accounts with higher fees hurts production. And when production hurts, Wells Fargo hurts… If tellers and bankers make those sales numbers at the end of the month, everybody in the branch will get a [a gift card].” Managers would receive a $10,000 bonus causing them to overlook what their employees were doing. We suspect, they were encouraging employees to open bogus accounts.
Some banks make it easy for people to get in over their heads. And when that happens, instead of working collaboratively with these people to help get people back on their feet, these same bankers treat their customers like deadbeats. They also are quick to pile on late fees, default interest, and dozens of other fees too numerous to list.
And when you can no longer pay the ridiculous interest charges and late fees and have no more collateral to pledge? Then its foreclosure, seizure of your assets, freezing of your accounts, etc.
We primarily represent businesses with disputes with banks but the same model applies whether you are a homeowner or a business owner.
Taking on a bank is no easy task. Only the largest of corporations or wealthiest of individuals can match the legal spending of banks dollar for dollar. That means finding an experienced lender liability lawyer, a lawyer that sues banks, is critical. If you can’t outspend them, you must outsmart them.
There are many lender liability lawyers out there. Unfortunately, most work for the banks (the people with the money to afford huge hourly rates.) In one recent case, our adversaries were charging a “too big to fail” bank $1,200 per hour? What small or even medium size business can afford that?
Banks depend on their customers not suing them. Many customers can’t find a lawyer willing to sue a bank. Others find someone who claims to be a lender liability lawyer but really defends foreclosures or files bankruptcy petitions. The best way to win against banks is to take the fight to them. By suing the banks. And by finding the right lawyer.
At MahanyLaw and Judge, Lang & Katers, we sue banks. It’s our passion. And we never defend them.
Trying to find a lawyer that sues banks? Asking yourself the question, “How can I sue my bank”? We may be able to help. If you find yourself up against a bank and meet our eligibility guidelines*, give us a call. For more information contact attorney Brian Mahany at [hidden email] or telephone us 877-858-8018. All inquiries are protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept confidential.
Are you a banker with knowledge of misconduct? We want to speak with you. It is never too late to come forward and come clean. Over the last 5 years we have helped bank employees collect over $100 million in whistleblower awards and recover billions of dollars for homeowners and taxpayers.
MahanyLaw and Judge, Kang and Katers, America’s Lender Liability Lawyers – “We Sue Banks”
*Unfortunately, we receive over 100 calls and emails each week from individuals in foreclosure or with consumer issues. Although our practice is national, it is limited to cases where the amount in controversy /loss is $5 million or more. Periodically we handle class action cases on behalf of consumers but only where there are many bank customers with identical issues. Rarely, we will handle an individual matter but that is usually through our local legal aid group in Milwaukee or in cases of wrongful foreclosure involving no payment default. We receive so many inquiries that don’t qualify that we sometimes can’t even acknowledge everyone that tries to contact us. Please accept our apology in advance if we don’t get the chance to call you back. We also individual bank customers to visit our consumer resource page.