Councilmember wants to remove Wells Fargo name from arena over bank CEO’s racially insensitive comments

Philadelphia City Council convenes on Thursday via video chat. (Screenshot)

Philadelphia City Council convenes on Thursday via video chat. (Screenshot)

This article originally appeared on The Philadelphia Tribune.

A Philadelphia legislator wants to see the Wells Fargo name scrubbed from the home arena of the 76ers and Flyers over racially insensitive comments uttered by the bank’s chief executive.

City Councilwoman Cindy Bass introduced a non-binding resolution on Thursday that would call on Comcast Spectacor, owner and manager of the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia, to revoke the naming rights from the bank.

The legislation was triggered by Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf, who blamed the lack of diversity at the nation’s third-largest bank on “a very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from” in corporate America earlier this year.

The symbolic resolution is up for a final vote next week.

Bass said Wells Fargo’s track record of harmful banking practices, history of racial predatory lending, and multiple government investigations were more fodder for renaming the stadium.

“I have been pushing for the City to divest from Wells Fargo for quite some time,” Bass said.

Comcast Spectacor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Scharf made the comments in June in a memo, which became public in September. He made similar statements during a video conference meeting.

Last month, Scharf apologized for his comments, saying that his statements reflected “my own unconscious bias,” according to The Associated Press.

“There is no question Wells Fargo has to make meaningful progress to increase diverse representation,” Scharf said.

Bass introduced the same legislation calling on the stadium’s owner to dump Wells Fargo from the name of the stadium in 2018. The legislation stalled and never received a committee hearing.

This year Wells Fargo was found to have suspended customers’ mortgage payments without their permission during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an NBC News investigation.

Last year, the city settled a federal lawsuit against Wells Fargo for $10 million over allegations the megabank engaged in discriminatory lending practices against Black people and other minorities in Philadelphia.

In 2012, Wells Fargo paid $175 million to settle a Department of Justice case over allegations that the bank engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers in its mortgage lending.

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