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Franklin Graham and Wells Fargo

Graham FargoBy now you probably have heard that Franklin Graham moved his bank accounts from Wells Fargo because of the beautiful commercial they produced about a lesbian couple adopting a child. The irony is that he moved his money to an equally pro-LGBT bank. Alas, it is hard to find a reliably homophobic institution outside the Fox News/Republican Party/Fundamentalist trinity.

Franklin Graham’s view is not surprising, given his brand of Christianity. He is absolutely free, of course, to support businesses that reflect his values, as are we. And that is the real problem.

These days it is MUCH easier to find banks that support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality than it is to find banks that are ethical in their treatment of the poor of all sexual orientations.

Yes, I love Wells Fargo’s commercial, but they currently are being sued by the city of Los Angeles for opening accounts customers did not authorize and charging them fees for services they did not want and were not using. There is a long list of complaints from people whose homes were illegally (mistakenly) foreclosed upon. Like most banks, they historically have maximized the number of checks they bounce so they can charge the greatest amount in fees. One poor person I spoke to said that he had the money in the bank to cover the 13 checks he had written at the end of the month, though his apartment complex deposited his rent check early (despite a conversation), and there was not yet money to cover that last check. The bank covered the larger check SO THAT they could bounce the other 13 checks. In the end, the fees amounted to more than his rent.

Yes, there are lots of reasons not to deal with Wells Fargo and most of the other large banks, but a commercial is the least of them.

My point really is, what does it say about Christian ethics when we ignore how financial institutions treat “the least”? Franklin Graham got his values all wrong on this … and maybe we did too.



Rev. Michael Piazza

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