HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS ON WELLS FARGO BANK

Wells Fargo

By Akanksha A. Panicker

Almost synonymous with the Gold Rush, Wells Fargo is one of the best-known banks in the country.  Wells Fargo ranks in third place in the United States, standing just behind JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.  It is estimated that the corporation has upwards of two trillion dollars in capital. More than seventy million retail clients are served by the bank, which is now more than any other single financial institution in the United States. 

Wells Fargo today is the outcome of a 1998 integration between San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Company and Minneapolis-based Norwest Corporation. This merger was then followed by the 2008 acquisition of Charlotte-based Wachovia.  Along with JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup, Wells Fargo is one of the United States’ ‘Big Four Banks.’ 

Lesser known, perhaps, is the Wells Fargo History Museum. Early stagecoaches, photography, gold nuggets, telegraph, and railroad machinery are on exhibition in these museums. Pertaining to the Gold Rush of 1897, Wells Fargo opened the museum in Anchorage, Alaska, which contains a significant amount of Alaskan Native objects, a number of Alaskan ivory carvings, and includes several of Alaska’s artists, as well as those of course, and exhibits historical information regarding  Wells Fargo in this period.

[1.0] HOW DOES WELLS FARGO WORK

Transferring capital from lower-valued uses to higher-valued uses is the prime act of intangible transaction. This is where banking as an activity is majorly successful.  Still, after all that, it does not mean Wells Fargo has stopped distinguishing itself as one of the top U.S. lenders. To identify how Wells Fargo earns money, the observable practice is how the bank (and other financial institutions) subsists by lending funds out at a pace that outstrips what it owes. However, there is much more to it than the return on investment. 

In major measure, Wells Fargo was formed by the merger of mega-regional banks and huge regional acquisitions.  Development has almost always been steady and paced at Wells Fargo for around half a century, fluctuating between years and decades for the rest of the century until the firm combined with Norwest Corporation in 1998.  It turned out a decade later that Wells Fargo acquired out Wachovia, on the East Coast. They also have clients on the East Coast and the West Coast in the tally with their portfolio total client base.

Today, Wells Fargo classifies their activities into three categories for reporting results, which are Community Banking; Wholesale Banking; Wealth Investment, and Brokerage and Retirement. However, Wells Fargo has an extensive range of financial services on offer, which broadly fall between these categories but span a wide set of functions.

Wealth and Investment Management: This division provides wealth management facilities, along with investment and retirement plans, to corporate clients and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs). Financial preparation, credit, and private banking are only a few of these facilities. Wells Fargo offers investment products through its subsidiaries, Wells Fargo Investments, LLC, and Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, as well as through national broker or dealer firms.

Wholesale Banking: The wholesale banking department of Wells Fargo is concerned about the financial requirements of domestic and international companies. This category encompasses thirteen distinct industry areas, including business finance, corporate banking, commercial real estate, insurance, and credit risk. In finance, the term wholesale has a somewhat different connotation than it does everywhere. Numerous banks omit the word entirely. However, it is a catch-all term at Wells Fargo for underwriting and trading asset-backed securities, as well as other forms of lending for major companies and also other banks.

Community Banking: This division of the bank’s activities provides daily banking services to retail and small business customers. Among the programs offered are checking and investment accounts, as well as loans and mortgages. The bank services these customers through its locations and automated teller machines (ATMs).

Wealth and Investment Management: Wealth and Investment Management is a term that refers to financial services provided to the wealthy. Wells Fargo Asset Management (WFAM) is the trade name for the mutual fund division of Wells Fargo & Co. This division of Wells Fargo’s company does more than offer guidance; it moreover assists clients in establishing foundations and resolving inheritance problems when they occur. Any affluent citizen understands—at minimum in the United States—that maintaining one’s fortune may be about as difficult as acquiring it. In total, Wells Fargo posted net profits of two billion USD in 2019 from asset management, brokerage, and retirement. Wealth and Investment Management, however, form one of the smallest portions of Wells Fargo’s business

Additionally, Wells Fargo manages crop insurance, commercial real estate, and syndicated energy loans. Numerous Fortune 500 businesses work with Wells Fargo for at least certain wholesale banking transactions. Of course, this is when they are not risk-shifting. Becoming a Wells Fargo wholesale client would actually have to require the individual to have total sales of at least USD five million.

[2.0] HOW TO SERVE WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.

Subpoenas may be served according to process service guidelines at any Wells Fargo Branch. Essentially, the branch will accept process service as done with the Subpoena Processing Chandler.  Further, information may be procured by contacting Wells Fargo over the phone. A subpoena can also be faxed to Wells Fargo Bank. Legal Order Processing often deals with legal information, wherein there are two different addresses for the same, a fact that must be considered when enacting process service.

Wells Fargo will only respond to subpoenas if they are served correctly and adhered to process service guidelines. All subpoenas must be served to Wells Fargo, identifying the North American branch considering the different process service requirements for out-of-state subpoenas. It is necessary for every subpoena to include the identity of the court from which the subpoena was issued as well as the identity of the court in which the underlying action is pending, complete with a proper citation of the title of the action and the civil action number. 

The entity in question must be specified to whom the subpoena is directed in order for process service to be considered applicable and not returned.  It should be noted that a request to quash, fix circumstances, or modify a subpoena must be presented as quickly as practicable in the court where the subpoena is recoverable. 

For process servers, the documents have to either be hand-delivered to a local branch or sent to the registered agent. CSC is the registered agent and is thus qualified to accept process service on behalf of the conglomerate. It is vital to procure accurate information about the address, which is why it is highly recommended for process servers when enacting process service to ask what the address is for the State where the subpoena is being issued. However, the address on the subpoena needs to still be their subpoena handling place or in person at the local branch that will be provided the process service. It is crucial to ensure this delivery is done by hand, as Wells Fargo will respond to subpoenas only if they are given to a local branch by hand or sent to the registered agent.

Whether an individual is planning to serve the Secretary of State with regard to Wells Fargo or avail the earlier addresses, it is important to know where one is sending their process service documentation. The server must have an authorized individual signed as a receiver for the process service to progress. If they refuse to accept the process service, there are further requirements for the server regarding the appropriate process.   In order to be effective,  it is important to try and to ascertain whether the summons has been served appropriately and accepted according to process service, with particular diligence to be enacted against the state’s Rule of Civil Procedure with the envelope. So, as long as one complied with the proper notification of process service and evidence delivery requirements on Wells Fargo, then the server would have successfully fulfilled the obligation to serve all documents upon the parties and the case can be initiated or the subpoena can be answered.

[3.0] HOW TO MODIFY THE SUBPOENA

An application can also be submitted to the Supreme Court to withdraw or modify the subpoena, accompanied by a motion to quash or alter a document, or to amend the subpoena. In addition, the grant or rejection to cancel or modify a petition can be subject to the required terms by means of fair circumstances, identification of reasonable conditions that could influence the grant of this amendment. Wells Fargo, through its specific division of Subpoena Processing Chandler,  can be compelled to appear or produce by the court if the serving party [A.]  shows a substantial need for the testimony or material that cannot be otherwise met without undue hardship; and [B.]  ensures that the subpoenaed person will be reasonably compensated.

It is necessary to accurately address the subpoena to firms with requisite process service obligations; mailing and personal distribution of subpoenas to an incorrect address would mean that the subpoena request itself may face interruption and denial. Subpoenas may therefore indicate which documents and data are being obtained as per requirements of process service. Any subpoenas issued with broad demands ( for example, ‘any and all’ is a key term that is too broad) can yield restricted responses. The registered agent’s responsibilities include [A.] retaining a New York street address (that does not include a PO box, private postal box, or mail service), [B.] obtaining process service for the company;[C.] receiving other official papers mailed or sent on the behest of the business, such as license renewal notices; and [D.] promptly forwarding all legal papers acquired via process service issued to the business owner.

Professional agents occasionally have additional requirements they offer, such as reviewing and recording registry papers, providing notices when annual reports or license renewals are required, and information storage.

[4.0] SCANDALS THAT WELLS FARGO HAS FACED

Beginning in 2016, a nearly never-ending string of controversies have embroiled Wells Fargo: the development of phony deposit and credit card accounts, the illegal acquisition of insurance premiums on behalf of customers, inappropriate auto-loan and mortgage procedures, and the modification of consumer data—practices that date back at least fifteen years and were only agreed to after journalistic and regulatory inquiries. Wells Fargo has been fined billions of dollars by the government, settled felony and civil lawsuits, and made payments to injured parties. Nonetheless, it is probable that the bank’s misdeeds would proceed to taint its reputation in the presence of a cynical public.

Owing to Wells Fargo’s ‘widespread consumer abuses,’ the Federal Reserve capped the bank’s assets whose worth extended past USD 1.95 trillion. The limit resulted in the bank’s overall market valuation plummeting by hundreds of billions of dollars.  The Los Angeles Times revealed in December 2013 that frustrated branch workers created phony account balances and credit cards in order to fulfill their sales targets. The bank refuted any of the charges at the time of the story. To qualify for incentives, Wells Fargo workers were required to meet massive revenue targets that many deemed impractical. Instead of acquiring new clients, workers secretly opened accounts for former Wells Fargo customers. Employees also signed them up using fictitious email addresses and personal identifying numbers (PINs), apparently in the hope that no one would know. Small sums of money were also added to these accounts to give them the appearance of legitimacy. 

On April 20, 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency reported a billion-dollar fine against Wells Fargo for mistreating auto loan and mortgage customers. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it had conducted an audit and discovered that Wells Fargo encouraged active trading by brokerage clients on high-fee debt items that were meant to be kept to maturity. The bank agreed without acknowledging or rejecting wrongdoing, promising to refund USD 1.1 million in bad income and fees, as well as a USD 4 million settlement.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact a Professional Process Service (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Subpoena Processing Chandler
P.O. Box 29728
Phoenix, AZ 85038

2. Ph: (480) 724-2000

3. email: subpoenafax@wellsfargo.com

4. Fax number 1-866-670-1561

5. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Legal Order Processing
P. O. Box 29779
Phoenix, AZ 85038

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Legal Order Processing
P. O. Box 1416
Charlotte, NC 28201

6. Corporation Service Company: CSC is a company founded on 1 January 1899 that operates in a range of sectors. It is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, CSC has offices in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.

7. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 45. (3) Quashing or Modifying a Subpoena.

(A) When Required. On timely motion, the court for the district where compliance is required must quash or modify a subpoena that:

(i) fails to allow a reasonable time to comply;

(ii) requires a person to comply beyond the geographical limits specified in Rule 45(c);

(iii) requires disclosure of privileged or other protected matter, if no exception or waiver applies; or

(iv) subjects a person to undue burden.

(B) When Permitted. To protect a person subject to or affected by a subpoena, the court for the district where compliance is required may, on motion, quash or modify the subpoena if it requires:

(i) disclosing a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information; or

(ii) disclosing an unretained expert’s opinion or information that does not describe specific occurrences in dispute and results from the expert’s study that was not requested by a party.

8. “FINRA fines Wells Fargo, others $14 mln for records’ changeable format”. Reuters.

9. Wells Fargo fined $185M for fake accounts; 5,300 were fired USA Today, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/09/08/wells-fargo-fined-185m-over-unauthorized-accounts/90003212/ (last visited May 4, 2021) 

10. Blumenthal, Jeff (August 14, 2012), “Wells Fargo paying US$6.5M to settle charges with SEC”, Philadelphia Business Journal, bizjournals.com

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