Wells Fargo Launches a New Program That Has People Fuming

Wells Fargo is committing $1 billion to fund community development projects with partner T.D. Jakes Group, but the plan has critics across social media.

Regarding equity issues in banking, few institutions have come under as much scrutiny as big-time bank Wells Fargo  (WFC) – Get Free Report. So when Wells Fargo announced a 10-year partnership with the T.D. Jakes Group to build mixed-income communities, the plan was met with scathing criticism.

Many respondents to the bank’s latest move cited the numerous discriminatory allegations levied against the bank over the years. Last year, the SEC began investigating claims that the company was hosting fake job interviews to bolster internal diversity requirements. Around the same time, the bank was also called out for closing some long-time accounts without warning.

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Wells Fargo’s bad reputation isn’t a recent acquisition, either. Back in 2013, the bank paid a $175 million settlement in response to allegations that it offered higher rates and mortgage fees to Black and Hispanic candidates.

The court of public opinion isn’t quite so ready to kiss and make up. While the effort may seem well-intentioned on its face, several folks are quick to point out that T.D. Jakes has been accused of preaching the “prosperity gospel” — an ideology that rarely effectively serves its communities.

Other commenters pointed out that mixed-income housing isn’t the equitable solution that T.D. Jakes believes it to be. The practice doesn’t protect the community from gentrification. 

The first housing community in Wells Fargo’s $1 billion plan will be a residential and retail space built outside of Atlanta, Georgia. According to Jakes, Wells Fargo is “beginning to right some of the wrongs” it has made in the past.

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