wells fargo

Wells Fargo: profiting from illegal immigration

One of the Big Four banks in the U.S., Wells Fargo was one of the first to seek to profit from illegal immigration. They sought to open bank accounts for illegal aliens and they've sought to give home loans to illegal aliens (see also mortgage mess). In 2008, WellsFargo bought Wachovia Bank which was arguably even more crooked.

Banks like Wells Fargo seeking profits from illegal activity relates to political corruption; see immigration banks for the details.

See also: Bank of America, Chase Bank, CitiBank, Bank of the West, American Bankers Association, Bank One, Cardinal Bank, Cathay Bank, and City National Bank.

Last modified Dec 20, 2011
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Center for American Progress corporate funders and immigration - 12/14/13

The leftwing Center for American Progress has released a list of their corporate funders for 2013 [1]. Several of the funders have a financial interest in higher immigration and in comprehensive immigration reform.

Wachovia Bank admits laundering billions in illegal drug profits (+Bank of America; Wells Fargo) - 07/05/10

From this:

[Wachovia Bank]... made a habit of helping move money for Mexican drug smugglers. Wells Fargo & Co., which bought Wachovia in 2008, has admitted in court that its unit failed to monitor and report suspected money laundering by narcotics traffickers... The admission came in an agreement that Charlotte, North Carolina-based Wachovia struck with federal prosecutors in March... Wachovia admitted it didn’t do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. That’s the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history -- a sum equal to one-third of Mexico’s current gross domestic product...

[Wachovia isn't alone...] Miami-based American Express Bank International paid fines in both 1994 and 2007 after admitting it had failed to spot and report drug dealers laundering money through its accounts. Drug traffickers used accounts at Bank of America in Oklahoma City to buy three planes that carried 10 tons of cocaine, according to Mexican court filings...

[...BofA and another bank, HSBC, haven't been charged...]

...Large banks are protected from indictments by a variant of the too-big-to-fail theory...

Also see immigration banks for domestic examples of banks trying to profit from money that was earned illegally, as well as those like Arnold Schwarzenegger who want to help them.

Doug Irving /OCR, United Way help banks profit from illegally-earned money - 02/01/10

At the end of 2008, Arnold Schwarzenegger launched "Bank on California", a California state program that encouraged the "unbanked" to open bank accounts. Since the "unbanked" are largely illegal aliens and since their wages are earned illegally, California's governor is using state resources to help private companies profit from illegal activity.

Now, Doug Irving of the Orange County Register offers "Poorest of poor urged to use banks" (link) about an affiliated local effort called "Bank on Santa Ana" (bankonsantaana.ca.gov). In his report, he tells his readers nothing about the immigration aspect and promotes the program rather than taking the banks to task. He mentions that the banks will accept Mexico's Matricula consular card as identification, without noting that that card is a very strong indicator that the bearer is an illegal alien.

As for those involved:

The city [of Santa Ana] and Orange County United Way are running the Bank on Santa Ana project. Eight banks and credit unions have signed up to participate and offer the special checking accounts: Bank of America, Bank of the West, Chase Bank, Citibank, Communidad Latina Federal Credit Union, Pan American Bank, Union Bank and Wells Fargo.

Please contact unitedwayoc.org/contact/contact.asp with your thoughts. Perhaps there's some way that their 501(c)3 status could be challenged due to this program.

"Bank on Los Angeles": city helps corrupt banks profit from illegal activity - 03/25/09

The City of Los Angeles recently announced a new public-private partnership called "Bank on Los Angeles" (bankonla.com) that's designed to help 10,000 low-income residents who don't have bank accounts ("the unbanked") open up accounts. It's also open to illegal aliens [1], and that means that Los Angeles City will be encouraging corruption by helping major banks profit from money that was earned illegally.

Mark Weisenmiller/AFP's story about illegal aliens being robbed: planted to help banks? - 01/26/09

Mark Weisenmiller of the Agence France Presse (AFP) offers "Hispanic illegal immigrants hit by wave of robberies in US" (link). It appears to be a planted story designed to help banks profit from illegal immigration, but we'll never know exactly why it's being offered now:
Thieves are increasingly targeting Hispanic illegal immigrants who are reluctant to report robberies to the police for fear of deportation, US activists and law enforcement agencies say.

...But advocate groups and police departments are trying to spread the word that illegal immigrants will not face deportation if they report a crime.

...To combat the problem, authorities in Austin, Texas sought help from local banks to enable more immigrant workers to open up accounts.
There's, of course, a bit more to it than that. The Austin Police Department partnered with the Mexican government, and the APD Chief later got an award from that government. Wells Fargo and the Texas Secretary of State were also involved, and all in a crooked scheme to profit from illegal activity while hiding behind an attempt to prevent crime.

In addition to Brian Miller of the Austin PD and Elizabeth Watts of the Clearwater Florida PD, others quoted are Margarita Romo of Florida's Farmworkers Self Help and Cheryl Little of the Florida Immigration Advocacy Center.

If you're in Florida or another southern state, watch out for a push by banks to profit from illegal activity.

San Francisco approves ID card; corruption in plain sight; Tom Ammiano? - 11/14/07

The San Francisco Supervisors have approved a city ID card for everyone, including illegal aliens (link). While this will be sold as either a wacky plan from the far-left or a common-sense solution, the more likely reason this was pushed through is hiding in plain sight:
[Bill author, supervisor Tom Ammiano] said banking institutions in San Francisco have signaled their willingness to accept the municipal ID card for the purpose of setting up accounts. He noted that people without bank accounts are frequently more vulnerable to theft and robbery.

Officials with the city's Bank on San Francisco program, which helps people obtain bank accounts, said institutions such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Washington Mutual and US Bank had expressed interest in accepting the ID cards.

Bank on San Francisco is a city partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank. Although criteria for opening bank accounts are set in part through the USA Patriot Act, "to our knowledge that law is not a bar to a municipal ID," said David Augustine, spokesman for the city treasurer's office, which oversees the program.
At least the first two banks listed as well as the Federal Reserve have in the past taken steps to profit from indirect illegal activity: the money that illegal aliens earn by working illegally. And, in fact, the Bush administration fought to allow banks to accept Mexico's ID card which is only of use to illegal aliens. And, from the Bank on San Francisco page (sfgov.org/site/bankonsf_index.asp?id=46628):
Accept alternative forms of identification, such as consular identification cards. For many immigrants, the barrier to opening an account is having the proper documentation.
The banks aren't going to earn that much off this; I'd imagine that due to the cost of living in Frisco they don't have a high illegal alien population (except for those living 20 to an apartment in shifts). However, this could be used as an entree to other cities, such as Los Angeles.

As for Ammiano, I'm not familiar with him and I don't know whether he's just a soft-brained far-leftie or whether he's trying to get a piece of the pie. However, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he's received donations from those banks or he has some sort of other link. Those who live in the area are strongly encouraged to follow the money. His fellow supervisor Gerardo Sandoval is a strong supporter of illegal immigration.

Note that New Haven, CT has their own municipal ID. Their mayor John DeStefano has a possible financial interest and the person in his office who pushed the ID (Kica Matos) previously headed a group (Junta for Progressive Action) that is/was collaborating with the Mexican government.

UPDATE: The "Case Study" PDF at the sfgov link above has some interesting nuggets on the Bank on San Francisco program. First, they've got a section for those "thinking about starting something similar to Bank on San Francisco in your community", and I'm sure some are. As for how it all started:
Anne Stuhldreher, a Fellow at the New America Foundation, approached staff of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and City Treasurer Jose Cisneros with the initial concept. The Treasurer’s Office convened a working group of the staff of the Mayor and Treasurer, the Mayors Office of Community Development, New America Foundation, and EARN, a citywide nonprofit that helps low-income residents build assets. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco joined the group soon after hearing about the program.
To participate in the program, banks have to accept those foreign IDs which are of use only to illegal aliens. And:
From further research, the working group learned that Latinos who are un-banked often don't realize that you do not need a social security number to open an account and that they can open accounts with Mexican or Guatemalan Identification cards.
In other words, you don't have to be here legally to have a U.S. bank account.

As for government corruption at the federal level:
[at a meeting] Michael Frias, of the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation [sic], discussed how the New Alliance Task Force is helping banks learn about how they can accept the Matricula Consular Card and develop products and services to help Latino immigrants, save, send money to their home countries, and buy homes... The New Alliance Task Force is a partnership between the FDIC, the Mexican Consulate, banks, community-based organizations, federal regulators, the secondary market, and private mortgage insurance companies. The partnership has opened 50,000 new bank accounts totaling $100 million.
In other words, something akin to a federal agency is collaborating with a foreign government to help nationals of that government who are here illegally get home loans, and is assisting banks to profit from money that was earned illegally.

Related:
Pro-illegal immigration performance art (funding by Bank of America and Wells Fargo)
Wells Fargo and illegal activity
remesamex.gob.mx features Bank of "America", Wells Fargo, and Western Union
Citibank "recruiting" illegal aliens for home loans

More proof GOP is corrupt, lacks differentiation from Democrats (Giuliani, Minuteman flyer) - 08/07/07

From this:
Rudy Giuliani's southwest political director [Chris Gulugian-Taylor] left a top position [executive director] at the Nevada Republican Party last year after breaking rules by advertising a Minuteman border patrol rally in internal GOP e-mails.

The notices publicizing a "Stop the Illegal Invasion" rally in October 2006 outraged some Hispanic Republicans in the state, who said they feared it would alienate voters in the nation's fastest growing minority group just weeks before elect

Pro-illegal immigration performance art (funding by Bank of America and Wells Fargo) - 03/21/07

Observe, if you will, this picture:



Here's the explanation:
Families affected by a series of federal immigration raids this month spoke out in San Rafael on Tuesday at a news conference that showcased them as silhouetted subjects shrouded behind a privacy screen.

Hosted by Canal Alliance at a building adjacent to its headquarters on Larkspur Street, the bizarre question-and-answer session - featuring men, women and children assigned pseudonyms - was aimed at telling their stories while hiding their identities to protect them from possible deportation, organizers said...
Those "in the shadows" also made various claims, such as a supposed 14-year-old claiming he'd been punched in the jaw by a "law enforcement officer assisting in the raids".

I don't know whether these people were actually illegal aliens, or were just far-lefties pretending to be same. I wouldn't be surprised if one or many of them were in the latter category. After all, it could happen, and that's all that matters, right?

I note also that Canal Alliance's "Corporate Partners" (canalalliance.org/AU_P_Don_Corp.shtml) include Bank of America and Wells Fargo, two banks that seek to indirectly profit from the fruits of illegal activity.

Wells Fargo considers credit cards for illegal aliens - 02/27/07

Apparently, Chris Casacchia of the Business Journal of Phoenix contacted various banks asking whether - like Bank of America - they were going to give credit cards to illegal aliens. A JPMorgan Chase & Co. spokeswoman said they have no such plans. Compass Bank "were not prepared to comment" for the story.

However, as could be expected, the bank that put support for illegal immigration on the map says that they're considering it.

Wells Fargo vice president of regional banking communications Marge Rice says:

"We are exploring the possibility of offering unsecured credit cards to Wells Fargo checking account customers who do not have Social Security numbers... Wells Fargo recognizes a great need for equal access to financial products and services for all customers who want to build credit, establish financial security and achieve the 'American dream'".

If you're a member of the media, you can contact Wells Fargo at corpcsf@wellsfargo.com. Others, please use this form: https://www.wellsfargo.com/contactus

If you'd like to move your accounts to a bank that supports our immigration laws, refer to this list.

Wells Fargo knows many of its customers are illegal aliens - 02/14/07

The not-exactly-in-depth L.A. Times article "Banking on illegal immigrants" by E. Scott Reckard, David Streitfeld and Adrian G. Uribarri discusses the backlash to Bank of America's credit card for illegal aliens. It informs us:
"At face value the program seems to be problematic," said Russ Knocke, a [Department of Homeland Security] spokesman. "It seems to be lending itself to possibilities of perpetrating identity theft or creating more risk for money laundering."

...[Rep. Tom Tancredo] said he sent a letter to U.S. Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff asking them to look into the program.

"I hope the administration will shut down this reckless and illegal program before Bank of America extends a line of credit to a potential terrorist," said Tancredo, a hard-line foe of illegal immigration...
Then, almost at the bottom of the article, we're treated to the news that another bank knows exactly who it's dealing with:
Since then, Wells has opened more than 1 million accounts for Mexicans using the consular card. It also accepts Guatemalan, Argentine and Colombian identity cards. The assumption is that most immigrants using the cards to identify themselves are here illegally, Wells Fargo spokeswoman Trigg said, but the bank doesn't ask.

Jared Polis, Colorado Springs awarded by Mexican government (Ohtli award) - 12/02/06

Jared Polis is a dotcom multimillionaire who serves as Vice-Chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education. He's also donated large sums of cash to "liberal" causes and candidates. Last year, that Board produced Colorado's guide for illegal aliens, and Polis is also involved with ProgressNow.

On November 20, Polis' hard work paid off, as he was given Mexico's "Ohtli" award by their local consul general, Juan Marcos Gutierrez. As shall become clear, receiving that award might be considered a strong indication that the recipient is a Fifth Columnist:
...The award is the highest Mexican government award outside of Mexico. The Ohtli - Nahuatl for "path" - award is given to someone who has contributed to the betterment of the Mexican community and has helped Mexicans abroad.

"This was a tough year for us because of the race issues and immigration issues, so we look for a person who advocates for the Mexican community and who had done it for a long time," Gutierrez said. Polis "is smart, successful, and he has been one of the most effective advocates on education and the Dream Act."

...The "Amistad" award was given to the city of Steamboat Springs for its work in reaching out to its growing Latino community. Sister Alicia Cuaron was given the "Merito Communitario" award for her lifelong dedication to the Latino community...
The anti-American DREAM Act would take college discounts from U.S. citizens and give them to Mexican citizens and others who are here illegally.

Apparently recipients are nominated by a putatively U.S. organization, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO). The awards are given by the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior), which is led by Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez. The IME is part of the Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores, their state department. Earlier this CGG said:
"The basic concept is that the Mexican nation goes beyond the borders that contain Mexico. You can feel part of our nation without being on our territory... For the first time, we are exporting our politics. Many Mexicans now live 'transnational' lives, with one foot in our country and one foot in the other. This contributes to everyone's well-being."
Other recipients of the award include (source: preview.tinyurl.com/y47yrg):

* Harry Pachon, president of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (1), former executive director of NALEO (2)

* Douglas, Arizona Mayor Ray Borane (frequent anti-Minuteman and/or pro-illegal immigration quote source)

* former Congressmen Edward Roybal and Eligio "Kika" de la Garza

* current Congressman Luis Gutierrez

* former Congressman and current Senator Bob Menendez (reasons for his award here: preview.tinyurl.com/y22rtr).

* Ruben Barrales, Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States; White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

In 2003, a recipient was the assistant police Chief of Austin, Texas, Rudy Landeros. Vicente Fox was present when he was given the award, and it's related to a program started in 2000 by that city's police chief, Stan Knee:
[Knee] directed the launch of an outreach program to alert the community about the increase in robberies of Hispanics. The program consisted of a series of news conferences and an appeal to Hispanics to report crimes against them. Posters, bumper stickers, and radio public service announcements were distributed in both English and Spanish. The goal of this outreach program was to ensure the safety of the Hispanic immigrant community in the City of Austin.

The Austin Police Department is partnered with the Texas Secretary of State, Mexican Consulate, Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Wells Fargo... the project was called Banca Facil - Easy Banking.

In February 2001, APD Assistant Chief Rudy Landeros and Eliza May, Executive Director of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce addressed the issue with Rick Burciaga, Chairman and CEO for Wells Fargo in Austin, encouraging Wells Fargo to participate in the outreach program. May indicated that one solution that would help protect the immigrant population would be to make banking products more easily accessible. It was the beginning of Banca Facil.
From 2005:
...Tommy Espinoza and Alfredo Gutierrez were honored at the Ohtli Award presentation, co-hosted by ASU and the Secretary of Foreign Relations of Mexico at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center.

...Espinoza is the chief executive officer of Raza Development Fund, the largest and most successful financial institution for the development for Hispanic communities. [...former president of Chicanos Por La Causa...]

Recently, he, along with the Consulate of Mexico, collected almost $2 million to fight the Proposition 200 that was approved by the electorate of Arizona. The approval of this initiative was lowered from 76 percent to 56 percent.

...Gutierrez won a seat in the Arizona Senate in 1972. He was then 27 years old and the youngest person who had ever been elected to the state Senate. For 14 years he served Arizona in that capacity. He now leads Tequida & Gutierrez, a consulting company that produces strategic campaigns in English and Spanish...

Don't do business with Wells Fargo - 11/02/06

As detailed here many times, Wells Fargo bank has been a strong supporter of illegal immigration by letting illegal aliens open accounts. The site Embargo Wells Fargo has a handy round up of links about their activities.

Pahrump anti-illegal immigration ordinance; bucks rotting in the banks? - 10/12/06

The city of Pahrump Nevada - former home to Art Bell - is considering a "Hazleton-style" ordinance, but with the additional twist of trying to block banks from doing business with illegal aliens.

Wells Fargo and illegal activity - 07/20/06

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.

remesamex.gob.mx features Bank of "America", Wells Fargo, and Western Union - 03/02/06

Continuing their slow marcha into the 19th century, Mexican officials have announced a new website that will go online in May. It's located at remesamex.gob.mx, and it's intended for Mexican citizens who are living in the U.S.

Can you guess what it's about?

If you've been following along, you're right!

Citibank "recruiting" illegal aliens for home loans - 02/06/06

Hello, Democrats! You want to talk about corruption? How about talking about a form of corruption that will actually resonate with most Americans?

From "Home-buying program has cash, controversy. Undocumented residents being recruited for loans":
ACORN members, advocates on housing issues for low-and moderate-income people and Citibank have quietly recruited applicants in the county for more than a year...

But the market is vast and the level of interest in the program is high, especially since the loans typically offer below-market interest rates, down-payment assistance and require no mortgage insurance.

...Only two tax-ID mortgages have been processed locally, but about 10 local Citibank loans to undocumented immigrants may soon be finalized with the help of ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The nonprofit organization receives much of its funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

...Wells Fargo recently seized on the market, joining Citibank as the only nationwide banks offering tax-ID loans. Wells Fargo started its pilot tax-ID loan program in Los Angeles and Orange counties in December.

Chuck Lemoine, a Wells Fargo senior vice president, said providing tax-ID loans is legal and that reaching out "is not only the right thing to do, it's good business."

...ACORN Housing officials disclosed [the identity of the story's illegal alien victim] to The San Diego Union-Tribune on the condition her full name not be used. Six years ago, Estela asked an American friend to help her buy a home. She paid the costs, his name was on the loan and title. But a tax lien frightened her friend, who transferred the title to Estela. When the mortgage company found out she was an illegal immigrant, it demanded full payment.

Estela thought she would have to sell her three-bedroom home or lose it. That is, until she heard about the tax-ID loan program. In October, Estela signed the final documents for a new mortgage issued by Citibank.

The local tax-ID program has kept a low profile - no Citibank or ACORN-issued news releases - because of the anti-immigrant backlash that the overall program has drawn. Citibank has processed 72 tax-ID loans nationally since October 2004, half in California...

..."We're seriously looking at getting these banks charged with aiding and abetting someone who's a criminal," said William Gheen, president of the national group Americans for Legal Immigration. "Illegal aliens are criminals."
It goes on quite a bit, but here's what you can do about it:
1. If you do business with Citibank, stop. And, make sure and send them a letter telling them exactly why.
2. Contact your representatives and tell them to close the loophole - or intentional feature - that allows illegal aliens to get these loans.
3. At the least, tell your representatives to stop HUD from funding a far-left organization like ACORN.

Wells Fargo gives home loans to illegal aliens - 01/25/06

From this (very similar report here):
Wells Fargo is first major California lender to offer home loans to illegal immigrants, 10News reported.

"We're not required to ask the immigration status of any of our customers.

Killers target "immigrants", guess what happens next - 10/01/05

Illegal aliens in Georgia were the targets of a burglary spree, including five murders: "Police: Killers target immigrants". The killers reportedly spoke English, although if there is any clue to their race that hasn't been provided.

Let's examine this paragraph and use that as a clue to what might happen next:

Colquitt County Sheriff Al Whittington stressed that the attacks didn't appear to be hate crimes.

Is corruption a Republican value? - 08/26/05

In a perfect world the Democrats would have a brain and would oppose illegal immigration.

Help Ben Kelly, Ben Baeder, and Jessica Langdon do their jobs - 08/21/05

Ben Kelly and Ben Baeder work for the San Gabriel Valley [CA] Tribune, which offers us "Bank's business plan spurs local protest".

Embracing corruption (Brian Grow, Business Week) - 07/10/05

Business Week has a long article entitled "Embracing Illegals" (businessweek . com/magazine/content/05_29/b3943001_mz001.htm), all about the major U.S. corporations that are profiting off illegal immigration. Is it an expose?

Well, no. In fact it reads more like BW promoting a wonderful new market, and describing how those corporations are basically thumbing their noses at what Americans want.

"Mexican residents gain ID benefits" - 05/20/05

There's so much wrong with this May 1 article from Oregon that I don't know where to start:
For the first time in Ashland - and with no questions about immigration status - Mexican-born residents of the valley flocked to get a highly valued card called the matricula consular, a secure ID card that enables them to open bank accounts, get a driver's license and start on the road to work and legal residency.
Wow.

"New ID Cards Help Immigrants Keep Their Money Safe" - 09/30/04

The following is an alleged news report from Austin TX's KXAN:
The Mexican consulate has announced a program which puts a face, literally, on thousands of Mexican immigrants.

Authorities say something as simple as an identification card will save money and lives.

It's an important day for immigrants. Many of them live and work in the shadows, with no formal identification card and no place to put their money.

Opponents of 'Protect Arizona Now': funded by a check-cashing firm - 07/08/04

The 'Protect Arizona Now' initiative seeks to limit illegal immigration by requiring proof of citizenship before voting or receiving some public handouts.

"Mexican ID opens doors for undocumented workers in U.S." - 02/21/03

I created a thread here about the Dallas Morning News article "Mexican ID opens doors for undocumented workers in U.S." (link). The subtitle of the article is 'Critics say 'matricula' is a tool to facilitate illegal immigration', which in a way summarizes the whole article: it's mostly pro-Matricula Consular, with a few anti-MC comments thrown in for a semblance of balance.

Of particular note: