LETTER: Kean should boycott Wells Fargo in wake of unethical practices

Wells Fargo was fined millions of dollars last year for illegally opening accounts without customers’ consent. Photo credit: Mike Mozart via Creative Commons

Wells Fargo was fined millions of dollars last year for illegally opening accounts without customers’ consent. Photo credit: Mike Mozart via Creative Commons

By Louis Nicastro | Published Feb. 9, 2017

I am calling upon Kean University to boycott Wells Fargo for their numerous unethical practices and rampant criminal activity. I am calling upon my fellow Kean students to close out your Wells Fargo bank accounts.

Wells Fargo, one of the architects of the 2008 financial collapse, is once again in court due to another scandal. Bank employees opened scores of unauthorized checking accounts and credit cards for their customers without their permission.

Wells Fargo employees opened about $2 million in bogus accounts, which contained forged signatures, fake email address and pin numbers, according to The New York Times. Employees felt that they had no other option but to commit these fraudulent actions due to constant hounding and harassment by their supervisors to meet quotas.

Wells Fargo, and other major banks, has shown us constantly that they have learned nothing from the 2008 financial collapse. The worst part of this scandal is that the bank charged their customers $1.5 million in fees and penalties for these fake accounts.

The vile actions of Wells Fargo extend further with other scandals being brought out of the shadows. Wells Fargo recently had to pay $24.1 million for illegally repossessing the personal vehicles of U.S. veterans, according to the L.A. Times. Wells Fargo is also a key financial lender to the controversial Dakota Access LLC, which is building a pipeline through the lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Will anyone from Wells Fargo be imprisoned for these actions? I highly doubt it. Time and time again, big banks operate like mafia families pillaging the working class citizens of this nation. Our government rewards them for their crimes with bailouts funded by you, the taxpayer.

I appeal to you, Kean President Dawood Farahi, to remove their ATM’s from our campus. Replace them entirely with a banking institution that actually cares about their community.

To my fellow students and alumni, close your Wells Fargo accounts. Do not give this soulless, despicable institution another dime of your hard earned money. Choose a better alternative, a local banking institution engaged in community enrichment like Spencer Savings or Lakeland, or better yet choose a credit union.

Credit unions are nonprofit and community-based. The main goal of banks is to make money for their corporate shareholders. Th e main goal of credit unions is to make money for you, the member. Credit unions, unlike banks, view you as a member not a customer they can take advantage of.

To Wells Fargo, I will be working diligently to make sure you are no longer a guest at our campus. Your invitation has been revoked. Get out.

Louis Nicastro is a senior criminal justice major and member of Kean University’s Young Greens party on campus.

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