Big banks are under a lot of pressure these days not to mess anything up — but in the case of firing employees for crimes they committed decades ago, are they overreacting? A Wells Fargo customer service worker says his recent termination stemming from an incident in 1963 is totally unnecessary. His crime? Using a cardboard cutout of a dime in a Laundromat washing machine.
The 68-year-old man was fired from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage under new employment guidelines, the same rules that saw a Milwaukee woman lose her job in May over a 40-year-old crime. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s tougher standards for bank employees were enacted in May 2011, and are supposed to get rid of executives and mid-level bank employees who’ve committed crimes like identity theft and money laundering.
The man was convicted of operating a coin-changing machine by false means, a crime he told the Des Moines Register was a “stupid stunt,” but because he spent two days in jail as a result, he doesn’t qualify for a free pass from the FDIC’s automatic waiver system. Another program will let employees try to show they’re still fit to work at a bank even if they’ve been convicted, but that takes about six months to a year.
Wells Fargo spokeswoman Angela Kaipust responded to the Des Moines Register to confirm the firing: “The expectations that have been placed on us and all financial institutions have never been higher,” she said.
A local attorney is in the process of helping the man complete the FDIC waiver application process, adding that he’s not the kind of employee the FDIC guidelines are going after.
“These guidelines are really meant for executives and people who can perpetuate widespread fraud,” said the attorney.
*Thanks for the tip, Lenny!
Wells Fargo fires Des Moines worker for laundromat incident 49 years ago [Des Moines Register]