Wells Fargo has been widely criticized for its predatory, deceptive practice of targeting black mortgage borrowers with subprime mortgages (whose teaser rates ballooned into unsustainable long-term rates after a few years), rather than offering those borrowers much cheaper and better mortgages that would not have led to widespread bankruptcy, foreclosure, and the destruction of hardworking families' live savings.
The bank has never made reparations to the families it deceived and ruined, but it is up for sponsoring a Black Lives Matter luncheon and panel at the lobby group US Black Chambers, entitled "From Black Panthers to Black Lives Matter, the Movement Continues." For its sponsorship, Wells Fargo received prominent branding behind the speakers and on the podium.
But the event's organizers made no such effort to distance themselves from Wells Fargo. In interviews with The Intercept, two board members for the U.S. Black Chambers offered Wells Fargo, without prompting, as an example of a beneficial corporate partner.
And asked about the bank's accusations of discriminatory lending, USBC board chairman Aubry Stone defended Wells Fargo. "Obviously, they're trying to do the right thing," he said. "There were a lot of people caught up in that scenario, some on purpose, some by accident."
Wells Fargo has donated to USBC since at least 1999. Its donations have been used to give grants to black chambers of commerce, including the Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce in Kansas City, KS, and the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce in Fresno, CA. Funding has also been used to create webinars on getting loans and to support the Black Male Entrepreneur Institute.
Wells Fargo Sponsorship of Black Lives Matter Panel Draws Scorn
[Naomi LaChance/The Intercept]