In a recent case in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida, Wells Fargo decided that they could ignore orders from a Federal Bankruptcy judge, and the result was sanctions and a court order compelling it to get its act together.
I represented a debtor who several years ago had filed Chapter 13 and stripped (reduced), his loan principal on his two Wells Fargo home mortgages. Four years later he received his discharge. As soon as his discharge was entered, Wells Fargo decided to ignore the court orders that had stripped the loans. It immediately started to chargeback the debtor the reduced principal and dunned him on his monthly statements. For almost a year the debtor attempted to get Wells Fargo to recognize its transgression. Wells Fargo’s response was to force-place insurance, add back the stripped principal, and refuse to record a proper lien release. We asked the Bankruptcy Court to intervene….which it did, in a forceful way.
After an evidentiary hearing on December 20, 2018, the Court issued a scathing indictment of Wells Fargo’s behavior, ordering it to not only repair and undo what it had done, but to pay the debtor’s attorney’s fees and costs.
This year, Wells Fargo embarked on a new marketing campaign after being caught selling unnecessary accounts and inflicting other scandals on its customers: “From day one we always came through for our customers, and today we’re renewing our commitment to you and working to earn back your trust…”….so goes the new ad byline.
“We’re holding ourselves accountable to find and fix issues proactively because earning back your trust is our greatest priority,” the narrator says on the new Wells Fargo TV commercial. The Bankruptcy Judge in In re Audette 13-25701 would probably take issue with that pronouncement.