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There have been a great many unflattering things said and written about Wells Fargo over the last half-dozen years. Still, Georgia state court Judge Belinda Edwards managed to top just about all of them in a 38-page order throwing out a favorable arbitration award won by the bank against a customer accusing the bank of (you’ll be surprised to hear) screwing him over. First, she found that Wells and FINRA (obviously) conspired to stack the deck in Wells’ favor with some jiggery-pokery vis-à-vis the allegedly neutral, computer-generated list of possible arbitrators. Fearing this was not enough, however, Wells went a step further, committing “fraud on the arbitration panel by procuring perjured testimony, intentionally misrepresenting the record, and refusing to turn over a key document to the Investors until after the close of evidence.”

Well. Wells has a detailed and considered response to those rather serious allegations—nay, factual findings by a judge—and it is: “Nuh uh.”

Two of the company’s business units—Wells Fargo Clearing Services and Wells Fargo Advisors—filed notice of their appeal in a Georgia state court on Feb. 23, according to court records…. A company spokeswoman said in a statement: “As previously stated, we disagree with the decision and are proceeding with an appeal.”

Which is all well and good, but may also have been too much for the woman charged with the nigh impossible task of keeping Wells’ name out of the mud in which it so richly deserves to reside.

Barri Rafferty, who oversaw communications and brand management, will leave May 1…. Ms. Rafferty previously ran a public relations firm and hadn’t worked in banks. She put in place an organizational structure for her group more akin to a PR agency by grouping staffers by areas of expertise. She sought to be proactive in generating positive publicity. Partway through her tenure, her purview expanded to include marketing.

Wells Fargo Appeals Ruling Alleging the Bank Gamed Arbitration Process [Barron’s]

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