Wells Fargo — NOT Blowing Your Bailout Bucks in Vegas

Bankers for the Wynn

By David Hogarty
|  Tuesday, Feb 3, 2009  |  Updated 7:04 PM PDT
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Wells Fargo — NOT Blowing Your Bailout Bucks in Vegas

AP

Mortgage lenders may be dumber than their imperiled status initially exhibited. Wells Fargo bank cancelled its employee trip to Las Vegas after people reacted negatively.

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Wells Fargo has cancelled its trip to Las Vegas to honor its mortgage bankers after receiving some negative feedback from lawmakers and nearly everyone not scheduled to go with them.

The astounding tone deafness of bankers continues to gall anyone who might take offense that a firm receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer money to keep it solvent will now not be using it to party in Las Vegas.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. You know what else was going to stay in Vegas? Your money, after it was going to be blown at a casino craps table by Wells Fargo bankers whose financial judgment is about as sound as a fly-in-for-the-weekend tourist plied with a half dozen overpriced cocktails at the Spearmint Rhino strip club.

Wells Fargo, which received $25 billion of taxpayer funded bailout money, cancelled its reservations at the Wynn and Encore Casino Hotels to honor — wait for it — its top mortgage lenders.

Not that there's anything wrong with honoring valued employees, but couldn't they have sent them off to a New Age retreat or a health spa? Nope; they had to pick Vegas — a town that epitomizes separating a fool and his money?

As you receive your W-2 this month, or possibly an unemployment check in a foundering economy, take cold comfort in knowing that you will be spared the role of the fool who has been separated from his money, and that it won't wind up being blown on lap dances and at poker tables in Las Vegas by our mendicant cup-in-hand please-save-us banker buddies.

In a statement released Tuesday evening, Wells Fargo execs bristled at the idea that trip could be perceived so negatively and took a few jabs at the Associated Press for mischaracterizing an above board business meeting. The trip to to Vegas wasn't a "junket," it was a "four-day business meeting and recognition event."

Initially, Wells Fargo execs defended the Vegas trip as a company tradition---one that previously included helicopter rides, horseback riding, wine-tasting, and a private concert by Jimmy Buffett.

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