Many misfortunes have befallen Wells Fargo over the past three-and-a-half years, nearly all of them either self-inflicted or richly deserved. But here’s one that really can’t be laid on the bank’s account, fake or otherwise: It might have avoided the slow drumbeat of bad news and its associated fines over the past few years if only Mick Mulvaney had hired a non-published racist to do the exact opposite of what his boss told him to do.

According to the report, Mr. Scharf’s immediate predecessor, C. Allen Parker, explicitly told a member of the bank’s board in May that Mr. Blankenstein had promised him that the Trump administration would continue to smooth the way for the bank — even after Mr. Blankenstein resigned that week over racist statements he had made as a law student.

“Eric also assured me that there would continue to be ‘political’ oversight of the engagement with us, although he wasn’t yet sure who his successor would be,” Mr. Parker wrote to the board member, James Quigley…. Given their conversations with Mr. Blankenstein, the bank’s leaders were expecting to be able to resolve the active investigations with the agency in private, without paying any more fines. They expressed surprise, according to the report, when members of the agency’s staff said two months later that they were not aware of Mr. Blankenstein’s assurances.

For what it’s worth, the said Eric Blankenstein now works for Ben Carson, totally proving he’s definitely not racist for sure, and Elizabeth Warren, who invented the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at from which Blankenstein promised “political oversight” of Wells’ many, many problems dropped out of the presidential race today.

Not that this is necessarily good for Wells Fargo, because now Warren has plenty of time to chew over the incredibly rich House Financial Services Committee report into the bank in advance of her next encounter with one of its top executives.

In 2017, then-vice chair of Wells Fargo’s board, Betsy Duke, questioned why CFPB was including her on emails about actions the bank needed to take, according to the report. “Why are you sending it to me, the board, rather than the department manager?” she asked a CFPB official in an email, according to the report…. Duke, who is now chairs the board, is scheduled to testify on Wednesday….

The report also states that Wells Fargo executives seemed more interested in getting out from under federal scrutiny quickly “instead of taking the necessary time to address the weaknesses” within the bank….

In the 2017 email, Michael Loughlin, then the bank’s chief risk officer, discussed a plan for setting aside $200 million to compensate consumers harmed by its fake account scandal.

If any money was left over, the bank could give it to charity, Loughlin told then-CEO Tim Sloan, but only if Wells Fargo’s regulators agreed to let the bank out of its consent orders. “If they do not, no donation. Put the onus back on them,” he said.

That plan worked swimmingly, I think we can all agree. On that note, and in advance of Duke and CEO Charlie Scharf’s visit to the Hill next week, Wells has a couple of totally unrelated announcements.

Wells Fargo & Co. became the third major US bank to announce it will not support financing for oil and gas projects in the Arctic.

Wells Fargo said it will boost the minimum wage it pays employees in most U.S. locations, with the announcement coming the week before its top leaders testify on Capitol Hill.

The change will increase pay for more than 20,000 workers, the bank said Wednesday. The minimum wage will range from $15 to $20 per hour, depending on location.

Wells Fargo Was Promised Soft Handling by Trump Appointee, Democrats Say [NYT]
In emails, Wells Fargo executive griped about scrutiny, mulled using charity as leverage [WaPo]
Wells Fargo third major bank to end Arctic oil investment [N.Y. Post]
Wells Fargo boosts minimum wage in most of its U.S. markets [American Bankers]

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