Wells Fargo's CEO told Congress that he wouldn't enforce binding arbitration, so Wells is getting sued in Utah

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/05/perjury-to-congress.html


Corporate Death Penalty

Corporate charter revoked
All executives in the C-suite go to prison
All stock is liquidated

A new, employee-owned corporation is created from the ashes.


just assume that he didn’t lie under oath (because the CEO is surely an upstanding member of the community that takes such things seriously and respects the integrity of congress etc) and start the case, just to streamline the process have the CEO as the first witness, ask the obvious line of questions about perjury right out of the gate.

Any claim that they need more time raises the question of why honest answers to basic questions are so hard…


Of course WF’s decision not to make the Binding Arbitration claim in Utah doesn’t prevent it from making that claim in other states.

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“Oh the Wells Fargo wagon is a comin’ down the street…”

It should be noted that the main character in this musical is a flim-flam man.


One of the most amazing things to me, at this point, is that Wells Fargo has any customers left. I understand the difficulty in changing banks, but there should be a massive exodus from WF. The same should have been true of the various squid banks after 2008. I can’t understand why wealthy, somewhat informed people want to trust any of these crooks with their accounts. I can understand working class people staying (i’m one, but not a Wells Fargo customer). It’s hard enough to slog through the day without having to investigate whether you are involved in a fraudulent institution, but business owners and high income people must have some weird belief that they’re protected. ???


How about this? My stepmom teaches business and accounting at a major university, and she and my dad have been with Bank of America since the 90s.
I’m still flummoxed.


From how it’s described in the article, it was a general statement, in response to a question about the Utah case but seemingly not specific to the Utah case. If that is accurate, it would then be a question of how judges in other states interpret that statement in light of their own law on arbitration clauses. There’s a decent chance they would do the same as the judge in Utah.

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Yes, by giving up on that argument in this one case, it creates no precedent, not even non-binding precedent. And of course any future CEO won’t necessarily care about perjury for a former CEO when there are millions on the table. And the current congress is unlikely to go after a bank CEO in any case.

@knoxblox and @SeamusAMurphy

It’s usually inertia. I once tried to move away from a bank (OK, it was a building society, but it does have current accounts too) because I was getting really shitty treatment from them, but when I found out how much work it would take I gave up.

It worked out OK for me because it turned out it was just the branch manager that was the problem, not corporate policy. It’s not good for customers of BoA/Wells Fargo though.

I’m not sure perjury or potential perjury is an issue, they could say that they changed their mind on subsequent advice of their counsel, etc.; but maybe someone who knows more about perjury could chime in. I think it’s more of an issue as to whether the statement operates as a waiver of whatever right they might have had to enforce the arbitration clause. I’d have to do some research to answer either way, and it likely differs somewhat from state to state.

that last clause is important since if it went on the open market for a potential buyout from competitors you’d see more… interesting ‘corporate assassinations’ going on rather than the usual cannibalism.

I wouldn’t call it a Corporate Death Penalty though. Corporate Lobotamy seems more apt a comparison. or Corporate Cancer Treatment.


Would it make sense to go after the board of directors, too? If I understand correctly, they were supposed to be watching over things, too. And making money from it.

I puzzle this every time I see any kind of advertisement for WF, whether online or in print or on a billboard, or when someone cuts a check to my organization that’s drawn on a WF account. I can only guess that’s in the inertia, as mentioned already, but it’s also some kind of outdated idea of loyalty. AmEx cards, if I’m not mistaken, started that whole “Member Since…” nonsense a long time ago, and probably like winning streaks in online games and such, it’s not something someone wants to psychologically let go of, or break, easily.

I consider myself probably more loyal than most, but certainly not with financial institutions (especially for-profit ones), and only where I think it matters (to me).


You have to understand how many millions of accounts they service. They’re not screwing everybody. I’ve had three or more Wells Fargo accounts for more than twenty years and I’ve had zero problems with them and excellent service. On the other hand, the credit union that I also use has been a constant source of pains in my ass.

I’m not defending WF’s obvious malfeasance and criminality. I’m just explaining why they still have customers.

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