Wells Fargo targeted over charges of predatory lending

December 15, 2005
Groups alleging that one of the nation’s wealthiest financial firms engages in discriminatory lending practices staged a picket at the company’s headquarters yesterday. The groups are in a long-running campaign to force the firm to admit to and provide compensation for what critics term "predatory" lending. The protest at Wells Fargo’s San Francisco offices garnered little media attention, but organizers considered it an important step toward wringing economic equity from the banking giant.
     Yesterday’s demonstration was aimed at highlighting allegations that Wells Fargo routinely adds surprise charges to mortgages taken out by minorities, with many rates rising well above 10 percent. As of last week, the average mortgage rate in the nation’s largest cities hovered around 6.5 percent, according to the Associated Press.
     Company shareholders and community activists reportedly joined the Association for Community Reform Now (ACORN) in picketing Wells Fargo’s headquarters, as did members of Responsible Wealth, a philanthropic group, and the Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina (CRA-NC), an advocate for wealth equality. The latter two groups have been negotiating with Wells Fargo over reforming its lending practices for most of the year, leading to minor concessions on payment penalties and other issues.