Seriously, Wells Fargo?
In case you missed the news the past two days, the bank Wells Fargo Corp. was planning a lavish Las Vegas party for some of its employees. The problem is Wells just reported a $2.6 BILLION loss for the fourth quarter. And oh yeah, there's the matter of the $25 billion in bailout money that Wells got out of the $700 billion bank bailout program last year.
Wells called the party off after word hit the media but swears it wasn't using bailout money for the party. Either way, it brings up two important questions: why hasn't Congress forced banks to disclose where all that money went yet and as a friend said eloquently this this morning, what does the government need to do to be able to call the money it gave to banks?
By "call", she meant at what point can the government decide that the banks haven't met their obligations under the terms of the bailout plan and force them to pay all the money back to taxpayers immediately. Calls happen all the time: on Wall St., investment houses make margin calls, forcing investors whom they've lent money to to pay up to avoid steep losses. Lenders call back loans to businesses if management doesn't handle that cash consistent with the terms of their loan agreements.
Of course, there's a snowball's chance in hell that anyone in Congress will demand that banks tell us where the money went or force them to pay it all back. But wouldn't it be nice just to know under what circumstances they could?