The state of Illinois is taking Wells Fargo to court for discriminatory practices. According to the State Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the bank's lending company illegally discriminated against minority borrowers. Madigan claims that the bank, “disproportionately sold African-American and Hispanic borrowers high-cost, subprime mortgages, while white borrowers with similar incomes received mortgages with more favorable terms.”
The attorney general accused Wells Fargo of “reverse redlining” at a Press Conference Friday saying,
"As a result of its discriminatory and illegal mortgage-lending practices, Wells Fargo transformed our cities' predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods into ground zero for subprime lending.” Source
Wells Fargo the Predator
Loan officers frequently and fraudulently told black customers that sub prime was sometimes their only option. In an affidavit, prominent Wells Fargo loan officer, Elizabeth Jacobson, wrote that, the lender had an unwritten policy of omitting information concerning fees and penalties but instead sold black people on the more expensive loans by saying it would simply mean less paperwork, less documentation and a lower down payment.
There was a rampant amount of fraud going on in order to give blacks loans they could not afford. The bank in fact set up an entire division, called the mortgage resources division or MORE, that was designed to target black ZIP codes. In this division, loan officers were only allowed to authorize subprime loans. They received incentives for steering prime customers into subprime products and they were reportedly reprimanded when they didn't, according to court reports.
The forums were originally touted as an opportunity to advance a national plan of action, to address the primary concerns of African-Americans related to social and economic disparities. There was/is no denying the forums were necessary and had huge potential. Tavis was well respected in the black community (being a friend of the Fly Jock didn't hurt), he was on the up and he was most certainly on his grind. In short, Tavis was a perfect candidate to be a Trojan Horse for Wells Fargo.
From a 2005 press release:
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Joins With Tavis Smiley to Offer Free Wealth Building Strategies Seminar in Washington, DC
WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 -Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the nation's leading originator of home loans to ethnic minority customers, has joined forces with talk show host and author, Tavis Smiley; and several financial affairs experts to provide free Wealth Building Strategies Seminars in eight cities across the country, including Washington, D.C. Additional seminars featuring other popular panelists also will be offered in 12 more cities, nationwide.
"All families dream about home ownership, college education, world travel and more but may not know the best steps to becoming financially independent. I am thrilled to be a part of the Wells Fargo Wealth Building Strategies Seminars tour because I truly believe this event offers attendees the fundamental tools they need to make their dreams a reality." - Tavis Smiley -
I don’t like Tavis Smiley, never have. I have never understood why the Fly Jock put him on; his slam of the Obamas was way out of line; and this group of so called, “black intelligentsia” (see video below) he hangs with, as he travels across country on his speaking tours, seem to be incredibly out of touch. Debating Beyonce vs. Aretha, while never missing an opportunity to take a swing at President Obama.
Ain't nothing wrong with getting yours.
You have to admire the ability of a professional to make it happen. I’m not mad at Beyonce for handling her business. Kanye has every right to brand himself as the best at what he does. Steven A. Smith, well, he’s pushing it with this political journalist crap, but hey, his career is evolving and he is out there making it happen. Now Tavis, because of the nature of his grind, he owes the public a little more accountability than the others.
Is Tavis a victim too?
Do you think that there is a possibility that while Tavis was so busy getting his, that Wells Fargo took advantage of his drive and ambition and used him? Perhaps Tavis is a victim of Wells Fargo’s predatory lending practices just like so many others... Hardly. I wanted to give Tavis the benefit of the doubt, so I looked for his response to Well’s Fargo practices. I found it – he offers no apologies for partnering with Wells Fargo, nor does he condemn their behavior:
Tavis Smiley on Wells Fargo
"In this economic climate we continue to be reminded every day that there is no perfect company. Part of the process of accountability is making sure that companies are taking steps to do the right thing, and that includes appropriate outreach to communities of color.
Our relationship with Wells Fargo began in 2005 as part of its commitment to increase financial literacy among African Americans. Those efforts included free wealth-building strategy seminars designed to help prepare attendees for their families’ futures through credit management, home ownership, investing and entrepreneurship. […] All of these programs have been free and open to the public. And, at no time has The Smiley Group, Inc. ("TSG") nor yours truly served as a spokesperson or representative for any company."
A message for Tavis Smiley:
You are so busy getting yours, that you failed to notice that because of your association with Wells Fargo, any community building and good will that may have been started by the Covenant with Black America, has been successfully and thoroughly... ravaged by Wells Fargo.