0a0eece 1Wells Fargo Whistleblower Elizabeth Jacobson Court of Public Opinion Radio Show Interview

 

PiggyBankBlog Courtroom Bailiff:  “All rise!  The Honorable Elizabeth Jacobson has entered the Courtroom of Public Opinion!”

Elizabeth Jacobson was a loan officer at Wells Fargo who became a Whistleblower in 2009 after exposing Wells Fargo for specifically targeting black communities with a “generational wealth” program.  The program turned out to be a front for influencing black people into predatory loans.

“We just went right after them,” Beth Jacobson, a former Wells Fargo loan officer, told The Times.  “Wells Fargo mortgage had an emerging-markets unit that specifically targeted black churches because it figured church leaders had a lot of influence and could convince congregants to take out subprime loans.”

Wells dispatched subprime loan officers to churches in African-American communities to drum up business among black consumers, Jacbobson says.  As an incentive for church leaders to play ball, the company would donate $350 to the nonprofit of the borrower’s choice for every loan the person took out with Wells.  How “it was sold to these churches was, well, that money then will go back to your church,” she says in the interview.  “Have the parishioner decide, as the church is a nonprofit, that they want that $350 to go right back to that church.”

On July 13, 2012, Wells Fargo entered a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice for allegedly discriminating against African-American and Hispanic borrowers from 2004 to 2009.  Wells Fargo agreed to pay $125 million to subprime borrowers and $50 million in direct down payment assistance in certain areas, for a total of $175 million.  Wells Fargo spokespersons denied all claims and are settling only to avoid contested litigation.

Wells Fargo settled its discrimination suit for more than $175 million.  However, the damage had been done, because in 2009 half the properties in Baltimore whose owners had been granted loans by Wells Fargo between 2005 and 2008 were vacant; 71 percent of these properties were in predominantly black neighborhoods.

Therefore, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Court of Public Opinion, it gives the PiggyBankBlog Staff and John Wright and Janet Reiner the distinct privileged and honor to present to you the Wells Fargo Whistleblower Elizabeth Jacobson PiggyBankBlog Court of Public Opinion interview.

PiggyBankBlog Courtroom Bailiff:  “All rise!  The Honorable Elizabeth Jacobson has entered the Courtroom of Public Opinion!”

Download Podcast Version

donate small picture three