Wells Fargo Opens a 4th Branch as WeHo Considers Whether to Continue Working with the Scandal-Plagued Bank

Wells Fargo will celebrate the opening of its new branch in West Hollywood’s Movietown Plaza on Tuesday with a ribbon cutting and the announcement of donations to the West Hollywood Community Development Corporation and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, which will perform at the event.

The Movietown Plaza branch will be Wells Fargo’s fourth in West Hollywood.

The opening celebration comes two weeks after a City Council meeting at which several residents criticized Wells Fargo for its recent history of corrupt behavior, which included opening hundreds of thousands of fake accounts for which customers were charged. That behavior led the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to downgrade Wells Fargo’s Community Reinvestment Act rating to “Needs to Improve” from the “Outstanding” rating it had had since 1994. On Friday, the Federal Reserve Board announced that it was placing restrictions on Wells Fargo’s growth until it fixed the corruption problems that have plagued it for the past two years.

The City of West Hollywood currently banks with Wells Fargo. That contract expires March 3, 2019, and the city is trying to develop standards for evaluating banks that want to offer services to the city. While several speakers at the Feb. 20 City Council meeting asked the city include the federal CRA rating in its list of required standards, the Council declined.

The most outspoken supporter of continuing West Hollywood’s relationship with Wells Fargo is Councilmember John Duran, who also is the chairman of the Gay Men’s Chorus. GMCLA has close ties with Wells Fargo, which has been a major donor to that non-profit. Its executive director, Jonathan Weedman, took the job after leaving the Wells Fargo Foundation, where he was senior vice president. Duran has argued that Wells Fargo’s donations to LGBT causes should carry more weight than its illegal behavior with its clients.

The opening of the branch on Tuesday (which is located at 7326 Santa Monica Blvd.) begins at 6:15 p.m.. It will include a ribbon cutting by elected officials and food and drinks and autographed hockey pucks by L.A. Kings players Nate Thompson and Dion Phaneuf. There will be music by DJ Crash and a special performance by the Gay Men’s Chorus.

“To commemorate the day and celebrate the amazing work our nonprofit partners are doing in the community, we will be awarding two $2,5000 grants to West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles,” said Hovik Keshishyan, Wells Fargo branch manager for Movietown Plaza, in an announcement of the opening.


newest oldest
Notify of
fine7760
Guest

Grand Opening? It’s been open for about six months or more.

Larry Block
Guest
Larry Block

Is that 2500 or 25,000$. Seems to be misprinted

Henry (Hank) Scott
Admin

$2,500.

erik
Guest
erik

I don’t think we should throw the baby out with the bathwater. Wells Fargo has done and will continue to do a lot for the LGBT Community. We might end up with a Bank with a worse history of conducting business. We have to think about OUR community, and the LBGT Community. Wells Fargo is a friend of ours. We should not throw a friend away because of a particular thing they have done which we do not approve of. I will be at the Event at Wells Fargo tonight. I am running for City Council in 2019 FB; Eric… Read more »

Earl Eason
Guest
Earl Eason

@Nate. I think you’re right about Wells Fargo’s generosity to the gay community. Reminds me of Bernie Madoff, who was generous to the Jewish community (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/13/nyregion/13madoff.html) But I don’t think any Jewish charities turned up at his trial to speak in his defense. What does it say about our gay world if we’re willing to bow and scrap and suck up dollars from people and businesses who steal from others?

Nate
Guest
Nate

Wells Fargo had a problem with incentives, and management looked the wrong way. That is correct. But in all honesty, the opening of a fake account and subsequent closure because actually cost the bank a lot more than it made. The average fee income per account was less than $1.40. I have yet to hear any real stories of anybody retirement/livelyhood wiped out by the scandal (like Bernie madolf).

Nate
Guest
Nate

Wells Fargo made some bad mistakes, but I honestly think that it’s one of the most generous corporations to the LGBT community out there.

Alison
Guest
Alison

I believe it is time for the City to divest its funds from Wells Fargo. It has been proven a bad actor. I am sure the City can find a better banking partner.

Todd Bianco
Guest

While I’m sure Wells Fargo treats institutional/corporate customers with a lot of money better than it treats the 99% who it screwed out of fees, created unwanted accounts, overcharged interest rates and engaged in litany of of financial crimes (that it got away with with merely a few million dollars in fines), I think the City should immediately announce that it is terminating its relationship with Wells when its contract is up and begin shopping for a relationship with a bank that isn’t as evil as Wells Fargo. That said, the choices are few. Unfortunately, none of the too-big-to-fail banks… Read more »