Wells Fargo just can't resist Las Vegas

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Last week we told you about Wells Fargo's plan for a Las Vegas junket to reward its employees, an idea that was quickly canned when the bank realized how bad it looked to go begging for billions in taxpayer money while making it rain on strippers. The flip flop was so tone deaf that it even made Time's Verbatim page this week.


So you'd think the bank would steer clear of Sin City this week. Naaaaah ...

No, instead Wells Fargo gets dinged by NBC Nightly News tonight for sponsoring the Annual Securitization Forum in, you guessed it, Vegas Baby! 

 
Now, it's not nearly as egregious as it might seem at first blush. Turns out it costs a paltry $35,200 to be a sponsor of the event, though that didn't stop Freddie Mac from coming to its senses and getting half its money back (which we could do the same with that bank bailout). And Wells Fargo says that it's "reviewing conference sponsorships with an eye toward which ones drive business growth"--i.e. that $35,200 might get several multi-million dollar clients that could help the bank pay back the $25 billion it borrowed from taxpayers. Nevertheless, perception is reality, and Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) sums up the national mood best:
"If you come to the government begging for money to stay alive, you as a company should not be spending one single dime on junkets like this."
Sadly, that message seems lost on Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, who took out a fullpage ad in the New York Times blaming the media:
"The problem is many media stories on this subject have been deliberately misleading," Stumpf wrote. "These one-sided stories lead you to believe every employee recognition event is a junket, a boondoggle, a waste, or that it's for highly-paid executives. Nonsense!"


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