A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Wells Fargo, among several other large banks, for allegedly manipulating the Paycheck Protection Program applications for their benefit. Although CEO Charlie Scharf released statements indicating that their focus is geared towards small businesses with less than 50 employees, what actually happened seems to indicate otherwise.
Using data obtained from the U.S. Small Business Association there seems to be evidence that the bank front-loaded larger business applications before small business and once the Paycheck Protection Program grant fund dried up, the small businesses that applied were left without assistance.
By pushing larger companies forward, Wells Fargo was ensuring the collection of larger processing fees and collections in contrast to the nominal fees they might have collected from the smaller businesses. Although Wells Fargo has said that the fees they collected through processing the PPP applications will be given as charitable grants to nonprofits that support small businesses.