Stand up to bully banks

Make the Big four accountable by pulling your money from them

The latest corporate scandal involves one of the world’s Big Four banks, Wells Fargo. With 70 million customers around the globe, one might assume its employees—all the way up to the CEO—can be trusted to take care of our money. Apparently that old saying about not assuming—yeah, it applies here.

Over several years, Wells Fargo employees opened 1.5 million fake bank accounts and filled out about 500,000 fake credit card applications in order to inflate numbers and keep their jobs. But those fake accounts were linked to actual Wells Fargo customers and the repercussions could be felt for years. When an account is opened and you don’t know about it, you don’t pay the associated fees and start to rack up penalties. Those penalties show up on your credit report, which in turn determines whether you’ll qualify for a home or car loan, in some cases whether you can even get a new cellphone.

The bank has been ordered to pay $185 million in fines. CEO John Stumpf and executive Carrie Tolstedt, whose division was found to have carried out much of the fraud, will fork over $45 million and $19 million worth of stock, respectively. But that’s not enough. As a huge financial institution, Wells Fargo is getting off the hook with a relative slap on the wrist. Where’s the accountability? The punishment that fits the crime?

That’s where we come in. Our money speaks volumes. Go into Wells Fargo, Citibank—remember last year, when Citibank was found to have bilked customers out of $700,000 through hidden fees and false marketing?—Bank of America or Chase and close your accounts there. Then walk on over to a local bank or credit union and deposit your money there. It’s time we stood up to the bully taking our lunch money. Enough is enough.