Trump's CFPB and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Friday slapped Wells Fargo with a billion-dollar fine over its predatory mortgage practices—but the massive bank is still walking away with plenty of cash to spare, thanks to the more than $3 billion it has already pocketed thanks to the GOP tax scam.
"The Republican corporate tax cut more than offsets this penalty. The firm reportedly posted a $3.35 billion benefit from the new law."
—Bartlett Naylor, Public Citizen
While the Mick Mulvaney-led CFPB and much of the corporate media touted the penalty as the "harshest" and "most aggressive" enforcement action against a Wall Street bank during the Trump era, consumer advocates were quick to note that the president's broader pro-bank agenda—which includes tax cuts and deregulation—makes Friday's fine even less impactful than a slap on the wrist.
"The Republican corporate tax cut more than offsets this penalty," Bartlett Naylor, financial policy advocate at Public Citizen, said in a statement on Friday. "The firm reportedly posted a $3.35 billion benefit from the new law. Wells Fargo is spending some of this benefit on share buybacks, which boost the price and senior management compensation. On balance, these are good times for Wells Fargo executives."
"Wells Fargo and other bankers will understand what justice should mean" once Washington actually "prosecutes" bank executives for criminal behavior, Naylor concluded.
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Writing for ThinkProgress on Friday, Rebekah Entralgo echoed Naylor and argued that the CFPB's fine against Wells Fargo is quite possibly "just a one-off for the CFPB to point to whenever the administration is criticized for being too friendly to Wall Street," particularly given the bureau's moves to shutter probes into payday lenders under Mulvaney's leadership.
While Wells Fargo has already seen massive gains from the GOP tax plan President Donald Trump signed into law last December, it is hardly the only Wall Street bank reporting huge profits thanks to the massive reduction in the corporate tax rate.
According to an analysis published by the Associated Press on Friday, the nation's six largest banks "saved at least $3.59 billion" from the tax law in the first three months of 2018 alone.
Most Americans, meanwhile, say that they have seen little to no boost in their paychecks.