LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Demand responsibility in Wells Fargo scandal

In light of the recent appalling and insulting practices imposed on consumers from Wells Fargo, it’s time to demand action.

Given the recent news of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau $100 million fine assessed to the Wells Fargo Bank for widespread unlawful sales practices, it’s time to demand answers.

More than 5,300 bank employees have been dismissed for secretly opening accounts and shifting funds from consumers’ existing accounts into these new accounts without their knowledge or permission to do so, often racking up fees or other charges. Wells Fargo Bank had compensation programs for its employees that encouraged them to sign up existing clients for deposit accounts, credit cards, debit cards and online banking.

According to CFPB’s enforcement action, thousands of Wells Fargo employees illegally enrolled consumers in these products and services without their knowledge or consent in order to obtain financial compensation for meeting sales targets. It’s mind-blowing, as a CEO and ethical person, to know that the country’s largest bank can avoid regulations and hide these falsifications from auditors.

While Wells Fargo is tasked with paying fees, I challenge consumers to demand who is going to be held responsible both criminally and personally? The executive in charge of the division fined for the illegal account openings is retiring with a $12.5M package, which equates to $6 for every illegal account. This is a slap in the face to banking consumers.

This scenario makes it more evident than ever, how the philosophy of credit unions operates in stark contrast to those in the banking industry and of the illegal acts cited above.

As a mutually owned financial cooperative, Dover Federal works hard to improve your financial well-being; from financial literacy resources and tools that provide you with the knowledge and skills to understand your financial options, to the creation of budgets, and proposals on how to improve your credit score, members are our number-one priority.

The credit union industry does not operate to make money from fees, or for the benefit of the organization. Your credit union operates for the betterment of its member-owners and will always ensure that you are made aware of your accounts and their features and benefits.

The authentic difference that distinguishes Dover Federal Credit Union above other for-profit financial institutions is the team that works on our members’ behalf, from the volunteers on the board of directors and committees that provide direction for the benefit of our members to our expert team members who work daily within our branches and on the telephones while their counterparts provide the needed resources to run an outstanding credit union which is committed to our members/owners.

David Clendaniel
President/CEO, Dover Federal Credit Union

EDITOR’S NOTE: Wells Fargo & Co. is the biggest U.S. bank by number of branches and number of employees; at different times during 2016, it was second and fourth in total assets.

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