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.