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News :: Gentrification : Human Rights : Media : Organizing : Politics
Wells Fargo to Exploited Customers, Taxpayers: “Let Them Eat Cake!”
20 Mar 2012
Mortgage giant hands out hundreds of mini-cakes in West Roxbury to celebrate 160 years exploiting customers, taxpayers for profit
WEST ROXBURY, MA – Activists dressed as Wells Fargo executives were joined by dozens of victims of predatory lending and illegal foreclosure for a public celebration of the company’s 160th birthday in West Roxbury Monday afternoon. Held outside the Centre Street Wells Fargo branch, the lunch-hour “let them eat cake” party marked sixteen decades of exploiting Massachusetts customers and taxpayers for profit. The Boston-area celebration follows dozens of similar events at Wells Fargo branches across the country.

Singing “Happy Birthday” and tossing confetti, demonstrators were initially greeted warmly by branch management, whose smiles quickly wore off once they realized the serious message behind the festive party favors. Wells Fargo-themed balloons, birthday cards and hundreds of individually-wrapped cakes detailed the financial and mortgage giant’s long-standing record of tax dodging, predatory lending and illegal foreclosures.


“Wells Fargo leads the nation in all the wrong areas – from tax dodging and predatory lending to illegally foreclosing on Massachusetts families,” said Safanya Searcy, a West Roxbury resident who helped organize Monday’s celebration. “What better way for Wells Fargo to celebrate its 160th birthday than by serving cake to the very customers and taxpayers they’ve exploited for profit?”

A 2011 report by the non-partisan Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy shows that Wells Fargo has plenty to celebrate on this momentous anniversary. According to the study, Wells Fargo raked in $49.3 billion in profits on top of $43 billion in taxpayer bailouts over the last three years. The bank also capitalized on nearly $18 billion in additional tax breaks over the same time period – more than any other corporation in America. Yet Wells Fargo paid no federal income taxes on their record profits, instead receiving a combined tax refund of $681 million. But the company’s profiteering-by-tax-dodging business model pales in comparison to its predatory pay day and mortgage lending practices. In fact, Attorney General Martha Coakley recently sued Wells Fargo for pursuing illegal and unnecessary foreclosures on property in Massachusetts – as well as deceptive loan servicing.

“Big banks like Wells Fargo have plenty to celebrate – they take all the money we have, put us out on the streets and sell off our homes to private investors,” said Richard Marta, a victim of Wells Fargo’s deceptive mortgage practices who is fighting the bank’s efforts to evict his family. “Bank executives gambled away our money and our jobs on Wall Street, but they won’t lift a finger to help us get out of the mess they created.”
Branch management\'s short-lived warm welcome.jpg
Giant birthday card for Wells Fargo.jpg
Let them eat cake!.jpg
Wells Fargo revelers gather.jpg
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