For a number of years, I had a credit card on my parents' account, mainly to buy items from the hardware store that they needed. When I got it, I did not have to tell the bank anything, because my parents were on the financial hook for any charges.
But then my sister switched our parents' accounts to Wells Fargo. I accompanied my mother into Wells Fargo and spoke with Kelly Looman, a personal banker. We discussed the extra credit card, but then she started asking me personal questions. When she asked for my DOB and SSN, I should have told her to cram it, because she was obviously opening an account in my name even though I had specifically told her that I had no intentions of becoming a Wells Fargo customer. But I didn't because I did not want to upset my elderly mother. Looman told me that the data she collected was not stored, which of course was nonsense.
Another annoyance was that Wells Fargo's credit cards are not handled in-house. They are handled by a separate company, probably a firm which Wells Fargo bought after Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich unleashed the hounds of banking hell via the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the reintroduction of bucket shops. We had to tell the other firm the same data we told Looman.
My credit union's website displays my credit score, though the credit pull is only done a few times each year. One month after my visit to Wells Fargo, I noticed that my credit score had dropped 12 points, even though I have not been late on or missed a payment in years. I contacted Looman via email and she tried to convince me that Wells Fargo had nothing to do with it.
I knew that Wells Fargo had opened millions of accounts without permission. Shockingly, four executives were actually fired over the company-wide fraud. I filed a complaint with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). I specifically asked that the credit card be canceled, my data be expunged from Wells Fargo's computers, the credit inquiry be reversed to restore my credit score, and that Wells Fargo be removed as a party to my account so it could never again make a credit inquiry.
The OCC contacted Wells Fargo. Jennifer Rasnick of Wells Fargo's executive office called twice, each time leaving a message telling me to call Annie Fieger at 1-855-267-6141, extension 45606. She also sent two letters with the same message. However, when I called that telephone number, no one ever answered, with the voicemail mentioning a number of people, none of them Rasnick or Fieger. I left a general message, but it was never returned.
Then I called the Des Moines office listed on the letterhead of Rasnick's letter. I spoke with someone who gave me an entirely different telephone number for Fieger, 1-844-576-6424. I left a message at that telephone number, but no one returned my call.
In the middle of this, Fieger sent a letter explaining that Wells Fargo would delete the trade line from my credit profile. This was confirmation that an account had indeed been opened without my permission. She also included the same telephone number that Rasnick had given.
After sufficient time has passed, I will obtain a free credit report to see if Wells Fargo actually did anything.
Bernie Sanders is correct: too big to fail is too big to exist. Large banks are out of control. We need to bring back Glass-Steagall, something Donald Trump recently hinted at. We also need to give the banking industry the Standard Oil treatment, i.e. disallow banks from doing business in more than one state. Start with Wells Fargo.