45th Annual Society for Case Research & Global Jesuit Case Series Summer Workshop

Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Clark H. Warner

Heeding the Canary: The Great Financial Crisis and Communities of Color (A and B Cases)

In an A and B series, this case seeks to show how Wells Fargo Bank targeted the African American community in Shelby County/Memphis Tennessee for subprime loans leading up to the financial crisis of 2008. Built exclusively from public materials, it uses an anecdotal story of a loan officer and her customer and follows, in the B case, with a description of a lawsuit filed against the bank. The sequence illustrates how the mistreatment of minority communities was a factor in the financial crisis. Specifically, it shows how institutional racism contributed to that mistreatment and how failing to address it for those customers allowed the banks to expand their corrupt practices to a larger set of customers ultimately creating the conditions for financial collapse. The proposed discussion includes topics related to what regulatory solutions could be developed or even merely enforced to prevent such behavior in the future.