Wells Fargo and illegal activity
Posted Thu, Jul 20, 2006 at 1:12 pm
Rep. Elton Gallegly offers "U.S. banking policies foster immigration lawlessness" (link):
While a strong presence on our southern border is imperative, the border cannot be secured unless we enforce our internal laws and stop ignoring the open complicity of U.S. companies and foreign nations to promote illegal activities.
While Mexico is not the only country to market its consular card to illegal immigrants in the United States, and Wells Fargo Bank is not the only financial institution actively seeking the lucrative illegal market, they were the first. Together, their activities undermine the security of the United States...
...By earlier this year, Wells Fargo was boasting that it had opened 700,000 accounts with consular cards. Other financial institutions soon followed suit. Today, some 200 banks accept consular cards as legitimate identification to open accounts, transfer funds and take out loans. While I am a firm believer in capitalism, I believe it must be tempered with responsibility. Capitalism without responsibility is greed. Banks that facilitate illegal activity are complicit in those acts.
Wells Fargo doesn't even try to hide it. When it announced in late 2002 that it was beginning to accept Guatemalan cards, company officials made it clear they knew who their target audience was.
"The Mexican matricula has proven to be an effective method of helping Mexican nationals and we wanted to provide the same opportunity for Guatemalan citizens," Shelley Benson, market president for Wells Fargo Downtown Los Angeles Community Bank, stated in a press release.
Notice she didn't say U.S. nationals or U.S. citizens of Mexican or Guatemalan heritage.
Two years later, a Wells Fargo official, speaking about marketing to the underground community, noted: "And we also consider cash income, since a lot of these individuals are paid in cash."