As with basically everything else these days, the Trump tax triumph has put Wells Fargo in an awkward position. Sure, the Bond-villainesque Robin-Hood-in-reverse heist is set to cushion the bank’s bottom line by $3.7 billion next year, which is definitely a good thing. But it also creates an optics problem, as there is perhaps no corporate entity in America less deserving of such a windfall than Wells Fargo. So it can’t just keep the money or squirrel it all away in a rainy-day fund to pay out a small fraction of the fines and penalties it is likely to face in the months and years ahead. At the same time, Wells’ employees haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory in such a way as to suggest they should get a nice big fat cut, either. On the other hand, President Goldfinger is rather eager to show that he’s the man that can make trickle-down economics work for the first time ever, and Wells could really use a few brownie points at the White House. So it is taking its cues from the Trump-Ryan-McConnell philosophy and letting a literal trickle of its projected tax savings make its way down to the hoi polloi.
Throw in another $400 million to charity and that should gives Wells a nice little reputation reserve to spend on the New Year’s first scandal.