Wells Fargo is being dishonestly accused of targeting black Baltimore residents (Baltimoreans?) based on truly scant evidence:
As she describes it, Beth Jacobson and her fellow loan officers at Wells Fargo Bank “rode the stagecoach from hell” for a decade, systematically singling out blacks in Baltimore and suburban Maryland for high-interest subprime mortgages.
Yeah, but really, what evidence does she have?
Wells Fargo, Ms. Jacobson said in an interview, saw the black community as fertile ground for subprime mortgages, as working-class blacks were hungry to be a part of the nation’s home-owning mania. Loan officers, she said, pushed customers who could have qualified for prime loans into subprime mortgages. Another loan officer stated in an affidavit filed last week that employees had referred to blacks as “mud people” and to subprime lending as “ghetto loans.”
Surely, however, the reference to “mud people” and “ghetto loans” were considered terms of banking art, though. Surely. For instance, the fact that the black/Asian area of Baltimore is called “Blackie Chan” is based on years of econometric research and the movie Rush Hour.
“We have worked extremely hard to make homeownership possible for more African-American borrowers,” wrote Kevin Waetke, a spokesman for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. “We absolutely do not tolerate team members treating our customers or others disrespectfully or unfairly, or who violate our ethics and lending practices.”
Yeah, exactly! Plus, you know, all those “victims” still applied for and were only qualified for those subprime loans, and they knew what they were getting themselves-
Loan officers employed other methods to steer clients into subprime loans, according to the affidavits. Some officers told the underwriting department that their clients, even those with good credit scores, had not wanted to provide income documentation.
“By doing this, the loan flipped from prime to subprime,” Ms. Jacobson said. “But there was no need for that; many of these clients had W2 forms.”
Other times, she said, loan officers cut and pasted credit reports from one applicant onto the application of another customer.
There’s the banal evil of modern society – credit scores, the cancellation of Pushing Daisies – and then there’s the sort of evil that makes you wish a little bit for the days of fire hoses in the streets, because at least then you wouldn’t have to go through years of denials about racism’s existence and pervasive influence.