Wells Fargo blackballed employees who refused to commit fraud, forcing them out of the industry forever

Earlier this month, Planet Money aired an interview with a Wells Fargo whistleblower who was fired for trying to alert the bank to the millions of criminal frauds being committed against its customers, and we learned that the whistleblower had been added to a confidential blacklist used by the finance industry, preventing her from ever getting work in the industry again.

This week's Planet Money (MP3) airs an interview with another Wells Fargo whistleblower who resigned when the bank made him recant his complaints to upper management, and then put pressure on him to engage in the same frauds as his colleagues. This whistleblower, too, was unable to get work at any other bank, and it wasn't until a sympathetic hiring manager at a rival bank told him confidentially that he had been blacklisted that he found out why.

The blacklist is called "U5," and it's maintained by the finance institutions as a way of alerting each other to fraudsters who are fired for breaking finance rules. The list was designed to protect banks from fraud, but it has no defenses against fraudulent banks.

Today on the show, we continue our investigation into Wells Fargo. And we go deep into this mysterious document, the U5. We'll find out the well-meaning origins from someone who helped create the system. And we look into how Wells Fargo branded their workers with it. Plus, how hard it's been for bankers to fight back.

Episode 732: Bad Form, Wells Fargo [Planet Money]

(Image: Blackball, 0x010C, CC-BY-SA)

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