Suit: Wells Fargo targeted ‘undocumented immigrants’ for accounts

Wells Fargo branches across the country deliberately targeted “undocumented immigrants” to open savings and checking accounts in order to meet aggressive sales goals, according to court documents.

In sworn declarations obtained by Burlingame plaintiff’s attorney Joseph Cotchett, former employees describe a scheme in which Spanish-speaking colleagues would visit places they knew were frequented by immigrants (including construction sites and a 7-Eleven), drive them to a branch and persuade them to open an account. Some employees would give the immigrants $10 apiece to start an account. The events described in the declaration go back a decade.

“The conduct we have come up with is scandalous,” Cotchett said. “It’s outrageous to think that regulators let the bank get away with this.”

The alleged scheme appears consistent with earlier reports of a runaway sales culture at Wells Fargo, where branch employees faced pressure to meet high sales quotas. But it raises fresh questions about whether bank employees merely deceived customers by opening accounts in their names — or further crossed a line.

Read more at The San Fransisco Chronicle