Tavis Smiley Says He’s Cutting Ties to Wells Fargo

By
Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Prominent author, commentator and PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley has announced that he’s cutting all business ties to Wells Fargo & Co. The move comes in the wake of a TWI story last week about Wells Fargo “Wealth Building” seminars held in black neighborhoods starting in 2005, headlined by Smiley, which a recent lawsuit filed by the Illinois attorney general charged were nothing more than sales pitches for high-rate subprime loans.

Richard Prince reported Friday in his “Journal-isms” column that Smiley said he would sever all ties with Wells Fargo until charges that the company steered minorities into higher-rate loans are resolved.

Wells Fargo sponsored Smiley’s radio show on Public Radio International, and underwrote the annual C-Span-televised “State of the Black Union” conference that Smiley organizes. Smiley’s foundation also distributed Wells Fargo materials to young people at foundation events, he told Journal-isms.

“I cut everything off with Wells Fargo,” Smiley declared. He said the move cost “a lot of money”; he said he did not know how much.

Prince also noted that Smiley’s comments came as the TWI article circulated, which reported that Smiley was hired by Wells to be a keynote speaker at the seminars, which were advertised in the black media and launched in eight cities, including Baltimore, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

“I was never a spokesman for Wells Fargo,” Smiley said. “I hate payday loans. My role in these seminars was about financial literacy and wealth building.”

Smiley commented on his business partnership with Wells:

Smiley said his relationship with Wells Fargo was a “package deal.” In return for the company helping to finance his radio show, he went on the road for Wells Fargo. He said he owns his own radio and television show and while it frees him from network control, it also requires him to come up with his own financing.

TWI reported that the seminars appeared on the surface as a way to help black borrowers build wealth — but they were actually just the opposite. A  little-noticed explanation of the “Wealth Building” seminar strategy was contained in a lawsuit recently filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

According to the suit, Wells’ plan for the seminars all along was to target black borrowers for higher-cost subprime mortgages, not for wealth-building, the suit charged. And the seminars were a part of the bank’s overall illegal and discriminatory practice of steering black and Hispanic borrowers into riskier and more expensive loans, the suit said.

After TWI’s article on Thursday, The Root headlined a post: “Tavis, You Got Some ‘Splainin To Do.” Jack & Jill Politics ran a photograph of Smiley standing a podium during Smiley’s “State of the Black Union” event this year, surrounded by Wells Fargo logos, and offered this:

He has never said jack about predatory lending, and now, we have an idea WHY.

Wells Fargo has also been hit with  lawsuits from the city of Baltimore and the NAACP, alleging the banks targeted minority borrowers for higher cost loans. As TWI reported recently, lawsuits are winding their way through courts around the country, alleging discriminatory behaviors by banks and lenders. Wells has denied all charges in the suits, and has vowed to fight them.

You can follow TWI on Twitter and Facebook.

Comments

36 Comments

Tavis Smiley Says He’s Cutting Ties to Wells Fargo
Pingback posted September 20, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptProminent author, commentator and PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley has announced that he’s cutting all business ties to Wells Fargo & Co. The move comes in the wake of a TWI story last week about Wells Fargo “Wealth Building” seminars held in black neighborhoods starting in 2005, headlined by Smiley, which a recent lawsuit filed by the Illinois attorney general charged were nothing more than sales pitches for high-rate subprime loans. Richard Prince reported Friday in his “Journal-ism [...]


Tavis Smiley Says He’s Cutting Ties to Wells Fargo
Pingback posted September 21, 2009 @ 1:00 am

[...] Random Feed wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptProminent author, commentator and PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley has announced that he’s cutting all business ties to Wells Fargo & Co. The move comes in the wake of a TWI story last week about Wells Fargo “Wealth Building” seminars held in black neighborhoods starting in 2005, headlined by Smiley, which a recent lawsuit filed by the Illinois attorney general charged were nothing more than sales pitches for high-rate subprime loans. Richard Prince reported Friday in his “Journal-ism [...]


maria
Comment posted September 21, 2009 @ 5:18 am

Tavis Smiley will tell you how it is, even when you don't like it. Just look at all the attacks he and his family received from the black community because he held then Presidential candidate Obama accountable for not doing more for the black community and avoiding key issues.

Tavis, has always been there for the black community and will always have our support.

I take him for his word and know that he says what he means and means what he says.


Millionaire against payday loans
Pingback posted September 21, 2009 @ 8:40 am

[...] would be Travis Smiley, one of the highest paid radio hosts in the country.   This comes after he is criticized for taking money from Wells Fargo Bank: Prominent author, commentator and PBS talk show host Tavis [...]


Joni Reynolds
Comment posted September 21, 2009 @ 10:42 am

Type your comment here. Tavis Smiley has influence within the black community and he needs to be careful where he uses it. The Well Fargo loans have devestated the black community and Smiley's endorsement was one of the reason some of the people attending the Wealth Building seminars attended. With influence comes responisbility.


Marbhshainn
Comment posted September 21, 2009 @ 11:05 am

I always knew Tavis was a spy for The Man.
I mean, one of his sponsors is Wal-Mart!


Fashion, Style, & Entertainment | Ebony Inspired
Pingback posted September 21, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

[...] Following Kane’s article, Richard Prince reported that Smiley was cutting all ties with the bank. [...]


macstl
Comment posted September 21, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

Tavis has always been about Tavis – as to President Obama – Tavis had an ego tantrum when then candidate Obama could not attend and suggested his wife. Tavis has always been about the money – FOR HIM.


lordbyron13
Comment posted September 21, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

Tavis has always been about Tavis? Proof please…this one incident is not indicative of Tavis Smiley's normal behavior. When you are heading up your own financing for a show, you don't have time and not always the MONEY to investigate those with whom you do business…in fact, at Tavis' level, you EXPECT a level of honesty when dealing with another corporation. Corporations are QUICK to remind us that they are 'just like people too'…except when it comes to honesty. Then, they are a 'thing'.

Nope, you won't get me with your race bating. Provide proof, or, just shut up.


truthinyourface
Comment posted September 21, 2009 @ 1:19 pm

Oh wow – surprise: an NPR Booker T. Washington type trying to make corporate vampires respectable to a desperate community, bringing debt peonage neo-slavery to Plantation America… oh wow – surprise: a man with a Kenyan father spending his life acquiring ruling elite cultural capital at Columbia and Harvard, sucking up to Wall Street Pentagoons and cutting the throat of any Black man who gets in his way… getting into the Big White House to serve as Plantation America's overseer…

Thank god the liberals took away all the urban Blatino guns, so that only the police, the military, and the neo-Confederate hicks are armed… better go… hahaha… PROTEST with your PATHETIC SIGNS, or better yet, listen to leftporn Amy Goodman's Democracy Someday!… or hahaha VOTE for a Democrat or HAHAHAAHAHA a GREEN! AAAAHAHAHAHAHAAA

gee, who could've seen it?


RSKaz
Comment posted September 21, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

Good on Brother Tavis for full disclosure and doing the right thing.


knowbuddhau
Comment posted September 21, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

Smiley's Charade sure resembles Obama's campaign. We could call it a “race-bait and switch.” Let's see Obama sever ties with–no wait, he made them part of his Cabinet, never mind.

What are the chances that Smiley's charade was a one-off? Looks more like their business model.

Allow me to ask, what do zeros re-present in a bank account? They're not just numerals, they're indicators, right? Those numbers hold meaning, the means for us to live our lives as we see fit. They aren't empty.

So when banksters get greedy and start “leveraging” their bets with other people's money, they use not numerals in a spreadsheet, but us and our lives as the levers. If it were the other way around, banksters could just replace the stolen zeros with more empty symbols, and call it a “stimulus package,” like bailing out a ship they scuppered by pumping in more water on the theory that it's the “churn” that propels the ship of state.

But that would be stupid, right?

And that's what's wrong with Smiley's Charade: the conversion of humans into tools of exploitation. It worked with Colin Powell as the race-bait at the UN; it worked with Smiley as the race-bait in minority neighborhoods; did it work in November for the people who financed Obama's candidacy?

The billions in bonuses for tanking the economy, IMO, speak louder than words.

I'd like to know the answer to this: was Obama promoted to voters in the same way Smiley was promoted to home-buyers, with the same “race-bait and switch” MO?


macstl
Comment posted September 21, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

FYI, I am a middle aged black professiona woman. As to Tavis – check out his whining during his smits – always about Tavis and his “wisdom” regarding what black folks need. Also it is not like Tavis just had ONE time contact with Wells Fargo – that co has been supporting him forever. Tavis doth protest to much – obviosly he is not a skilled businessman if he just discover this well known fact about WF.


lordbyron13
Comment posted September 21, 2009 @ 5:25 pm

I watch Tavis, OFTEN….perhaps we have a different definition of what whining means. In my definition, I hear him pointing out where improvements need to be made…and its not about Tavis. He does not stand there like Bob Dole saying “Tavis wants you to do this…” etc. He's trying to get black folk to be responsible, period. I've seen him with great guests and engaging topics. You call that whining? I call you a white person trying to act like a black girl slamming Tavis. You can't possibly be watching the same show. Tavis doth protest too much? He said he's dropping them:once. He hasn't been repeating this over and over. Don't you know what doth protesteth to much means? It has NOTHING to do with being a skilled business man. He isn't writing loans for Wells Fargo…that's Wells Fargo's job. Period. Its ok…

By the way. What is a smit? Never heard of it before, and though I'm not a consistent viewer, I've never heard him talk about smits before.

And if you are a middle aged black professional woman, why are you having a hardtime spelling things? Why do you not know the meaning of 'doth protesteth too much?”

Obivously, you are no professional woman, or rather, all you'll ever be is a professional woman…and have no idea what it takes to run a business. I however, have an LLC, and have had extensive exposure to marketing and advertising since I was 7 years old.

Again I ask you, where is the proof?


lordbyron13
Comment posted September 21, 2009 @ 5:32 pm

Obviously, you haven't the slightest clue about leveraging. Want to find out fi Smileys 'charade' was a one off? Here's a tip:Freedom of Information Act. Use it to get info on Tavis. That would bring things into the light of day.

First of all, leveraging comes from HAVING money in the first place. If I have 100k in the bank, I can use that to leverage, say, 500k from the same bank. Its normal everyday occurance. The problem came in bundling the mortgages in this case; but leveraging is used to buy corporations to getting food from your bodega on credit. Its a tool, nothing more, nothing less. The problem with the sub prime crisis? Much the same as is here:Ignorance. Because people didn't understand that to have an ARM,you use that to buy a home you KNOW will sell before rate goes up? How do you do that? Some magic ball? No silly, you line up your buyer BEFORE you take out the mortgage. Its called an exit strategy…and must be used for any investment.

Problem was, these banks were using this technique to sell to people who shouldnt' have been buying and had no exit strategy….and this was Tavis' fault?

Nah dawg…those peeps need to look in the mirror.

Period.


paulfromatlanta
Comment posted September 21, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

Is this is why OBAMA didn't speak at his summit?


paulfromatlanta
Comment posted September 21, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

As much as I hate Wal-Mart, but this is a great marketing move for Wal-Mart AND a great move for Tavis Smiley for the Black Community to see “America I AM” exhibit.

It is a wonderful exhibit. Buy the ticket at walmart for $10 or you can buy at the exhibit for $14.


macstl
Comment posted September 21, 2009 @ 7:20 pm

NWS your personal attack – yes you are right -I am not the best typist – Live and let Live – I do believe that Tavis is a pompous ass – you believe differently. the word should hae been summit – you know his self importance perpetrating call to actions. As to Wells Fargo – he clearly “knew” or should have known the price to be paid. As to you having a LLC – good for you – do you ever “investigate” your relations with other businesses before “blindly” signing a contract. Enough – I really respect your zeal – name calling not so much!!!!


kankankan
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 3:02 am

Thanks Tavis, way to go! We have so many media sellouts pretending to be sticking up for little guy while laughing from the bank…I'll go with the guy pushing the bank back


gparks
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 3:50 am

Uhhh does what you have … hurt???? Is there a dosage large enough to help your condition? If so … double up on it …. you are still babbling and we can not understand anything you are saying … but then again … you don't either!


knowbuddhau
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 4:59 am

Did I in any way imply this was Smilely's fault? Nope. Don't know what your'e swinging at with that one.

Gee golly, I'm so glad you explained the collapse in blame-the-victim terms, professor. You do know what the power of compound interest does, right? And if you have, say, a hedge fund with a few billion dollars, never mind where they came from, shifts in price of negligible amounts to small investors make you big money so you can “leverage” even more.

You do know that banks make more from “bad” loans, right?

Get a freakin' clue, pal, your silly little “no exit strategy” excuse conveniently overlooks the gaming of the system going on by the designers of the system itself. Blaming the victims of the rigged game is real classy of you.


hurtinghomeowner
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 1:40 pm

Wells Fargo's problems are far from over !

Visit — HurtingHomeOwners com


mandarin
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

wow.. and I remember listening to him on talk radio during Obama's campaign about how he “Hopes Obama has his people's best interest at heart”.. his exact words in his interviews.. smh


brwngirl
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

Tavis Smiley is not my particularly favorite personality, but one cannot lay the full blame on him. Generally speaking, we as Americans are very lazy. We don't like to read, we don't do our homework, and we like things handed to us. We, who were subject to these predatory lending schemes, really do not have an excuse. We did not do our homework!!!!! We wanted something quick, easy, and in a hurry. We never researched as to why it was important in life to have good- great credit. We took everything for granted. And when things did not occur the way we thought it would, we are up in arms about it. Rule of thumb: If it's too good to be true, it usually is. My advise, read, do your research, and stop believing everything you hear!!!!!!!! By the way, this is 2009 – the internet and the library are great sources for research.


lordbyron13
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

Ok, I'll dial down the 'personal attacks'. Especially since you let me slide on misspelling 'obviously'.

So long as you are aware that your standing is already on shaky ground. I'm still waiting for the PROOF that he 'knew' or should have known the price to be paid. When you qualify it with 'the price to be paid'…that's different than saying he knew what was going on. Trust me, he knows the price to be paid. However, if you meant, he should have known that they were up to no good…uh, hello…he doesn't make the loans…and more than likely, he saw it as a good opportunity to get people up and out of the 'hood' if you will. Because honestly, it really is. But, people have to be savvy about it…leveraging is not easy; and with many programs 'teaching' you about real estate investing, they often say “Even if you lose interest in real estate investing, you can use this to buy your first home.

Anyway, I think you put undue weight on Tavis Smiley, and believe that he is either 'acting white' or an 'uppity negro'. I say that because if you knew the definition of pompous, you would not have used it to describe him…maybe stiff; maybe 'overly professional'. But pompous…hardly that.

I do apologize if I was mean, but, I'm tired of every time a successful black man is heard from, he either gets torn down by his own, and to me, that means, ig'nant folk think he 'acts white', or, he get torn down by white folk.

Pray tell, what other role model do you have to offer? And please…Ludicris, Jay-Z and/or Lil Wayne aren't role Models. I might accept Charles Barkley though…


lordbyron13
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

1) Did I in any way imply this was Smilely's fault? Nope. Don't know what your'e swinging at with that one.

1a) Actually, yes you did. Its in your first sentence, if you'll recall:
“Smiley's Charade sure resembles Obama's campaign.” The implication(you do know what that word means right?) is that Obama's campaign was dishonest, and Smiley's associate with Wells Fargo was dishonest. By virtue of the association, you are
implying that Smiley is culpable as well. Oh, need more proof? Here, later in your post you say:”and that's what's wrong with Smiley's Charade: the conversion of humans into tools of exploitation.” Thereby implying that he is directly responsible for turning humans in to financial slaves. Again, LOOK IN THE MIRROR! Perhaps your speaking from personal experience?

2) Gee golly, I'm so glad you explained the collapse in blame-the-victim terms, professor.
2a) Glad I could clear that up for you. However, I only graduated from high school, and am currently 38 years old. Why couldn't you figure it out? I'll tell you why? Because you think money is evil. Fine by me. More money for me.

3) You do know what the power of compound interest does, right? And if you have, say, a hedge fund with a few billion dollars, never mind where they came from, shifts in price of negligible amounts to small investors make you big money so you can “leverage” even more.

4) You do know that banks make more from “bad” loans, right?
That depends…are you figuring in the time value of money? Are you factoring in collection efforts? Do you have the collection ratio? Finally, they only MAKE more money if they COLLECT it in the first place. Stop worrying about 0's and 1's and focus on the basics:
If your buyer doesn't have a job, you can jack up the late fees and such all you want $0 dollars is still $0 dollars.

5) Get a freakin' clue, pal, your silly little “no exit strategy” excuse conveniently overlooks the gaming of the system going on by the designers of the system itself.

I love it when the ignorant are so frustrated with themselves and their lack of understanding…that they just shut out reality. Tip: Pick up a book on real estate investing. Learn the techniques and the tactics. Then, try to teach it to other people in your community. Betcha can't do it. Why? They've been dumbed down by the education system. So, a) they don't understand what you're talking about and b), they get angry like you do, instead of really analyzing the problem. That's ok…I've long given up feeling sorry for the poor who do nothing for themselves as far as education goes. If you don't want to educate yourself, so you don't get ripped off, be my guest. I can guarantee you though, there will be someone out there to fleece you, while you run around like a chicken with your head cut off, being 'angry'.

5) Blaming the victims of the rigged game is real classy of you.
Truth hurts. Get real, and get with the program. Why not learn the system and make it work for YOU? Oh and by the way, do you know what a CDS is? If you don't, I suggest you look it up and stop worrying about compound interest which has NOTHING to do with the problem . The problem is was and always will be:

Regulations were stripped by Republicans
This brought the ignorant together with the savvy in ways they never thought of(well, at least the ignorant didn't)…mainly via the CDS.
CDS's contained good paying mortgages as well as bad ones. Which was the point because the theory went that the good mortgages would bouy the bad ones in this financial instrument.
The problem arose, not just from ignorant people who were either blatantly SUCKERED into buying a home, or, ignorant people who thought they could game the system; it came from the good loans defaulting when gas prices went up. Those prices went up, along with everything else, and the real job shedding began. This was the support for the CDS's and it failed.

I happen to work in the financial industry, and its becoming more and more apparent that this nation's education system is the real source of the problem.

You just happen to be the best example of what the problem is:willful ignorance.

Stay classy…avoid your responsibility!


lordbyron13
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

And whats his/her name again?


lordbyron13
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

And he was right to question it.
First of all, do you not remember Obama constantly talking about F.I.S.A? How he said the government didn't need more time added to the act(at the time you got 72hrs to collect evidence against a suspected terrorist before getting a warrant). Well, when it came time to vote on the expansion of the act, Obama didn't just vote for the change. He voted against it, as he said he
would…then seconds/maybe a minute later, he voted FOR the changes. I don't care that he changed his mind…I'm sure he had a good reason.

How about sharing that reason with the rest of us? You know, the people you told over and over and over on the campaign trail:
1) We need new politics. (Hint:That move wasn't new Barack…that's the oldest political ploy in the book…it allows you to say you voted against it, which technically now is true)
2) FISA doesn't need changes. But you voted for them anyway. After voting against them. If that isn't the definition of 'cynical politics' I don't know the definition then.
3) I will not sign changes to FISA into law. Aaaaaaaaaaaand then he did.

So, um, yeah…from the guy who talked all that time about new politics…seems like the same old thing to me….and that's why he was right to question him.

Don't get me wrong, I support him…but this is the problem…Barack is a middle of the road guy, and these times call for striking out boldly. He needs to drop courting the Republicans and psycho independents…and just move on with out them. Let them get on board his train, not the other way around.


lordbyron13
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

Yay! Score one for reason over willful ignorance!


lordbyron13
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

I HIGHLY doubt it. But, anything is possible.


macstl
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

My last post – clearly as an educated woman (smiles) I know the definition of pompous – and stand by my use – no I do not believe that he is an Uncle TOM or an uppity Negro – I just believe he is a pompous ass!!! as to role models – my deceased parents and every parent that feeds; clothes & love their children – As Sir Charles said . . . he is not and does not want to be a child's role model!!! Peace


mama5
Comment posted September 24, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

You are so right when we as people of color realize the plots that are set for us we will finally get it right. Easy come easy go. Big things are possible but they do not come overnight. Check this out when you get a chance. http://www.globalinformationnetwork.com and tell me what your opinion is reach me at moneymagnetmama@gmail.com help me spread this: Knowledge is Power but Wisdom is Powerful.


wells fargo teacher loans « loan web
Pingback posted June 19, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

[...] 9.Tavis Smiley Says He’s Cutting Ties to Wells Fargo « The He isn’t writing loans for Wells Fargo…that’s Wells Fargo’s job. Period. Its ok… By the way. What is a smit? Never heard of it before, and though I’m not a consistent viewer, I’ve never heard him talk about smits before. http://washingtonindependent.com/60181/tavis-smiley-says-hes-cutting-ties-to-wells-fargo [...]


Jsduhaduln
Comment posted July 29, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

nice word games. But be serious !


Spelling Game For Kids
Comment posted September 2, 2010 @ 9:58 am

My last post – clearly as an educated woman (smiles) I know the definition of pompous – and stand by my use – no I do not believe that he is an Uncle TOM or an uppity Negro – I just believe he is a pompous ass!!! as to role models – my deceased parents and every parent that feeds; clothes & love their children – As Sir Charles said . . . he is not and does not want to be a child's role model!!! Peace


Aboutgin
Comment posted February 20, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

Join Global Information Network, You now have the chance to be an insider and learn how to make more money than you ever imagined. http://www.globalinformationnetworkclub.com


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.