Essex County is withdrawing all accounts from Wells Fargo bank due to what it said were predatory lending schemes and foreclosure practices by the institution, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. announced Wednesday.
The county began removing accounts with a total value of about $3.8 million from the financial institution in June.
The announcement follows the recent revelation that Wells Fargo foreclosed on over 600 customers who were not allowed to modify their mortgages while seeking federal aid.
“We cannot control how banks operate, but we can support our residents and homeowners by sending a strong message that Essex County will only invest its funds with institutions that have client-friendly business practices and support community building,” DiVencenzo said in statement.
Wells Fargo has been at the center of a number of controversies in recent years, including charging customers for unneeded auto insurance, adding unnecessary mortgage fees and creating unauthorized bank and credit card accounts in customers’ names.
Wells Fargo expressed disappointment with Essex County's decision commenting, "We were surprised ... to learn of the county's decision in the press. We have reached out to the county and look forward to discussing their concerns."
Essex County has accounts with 11 banking institutions.