ESSEX COUNTY, NJ Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced on Wednesday, that Essex County is withdrawing all of its accounts from Wells Fargo because of predatory lending schemes and aggressive foreclosure practices by the banking giant. Under DiVincenzo’s directive, Essex County began removing its accounts from Wells Fargo in mid-June. The County Executive’s public announcement comes shortly after it was discovered the banking giant foreclosed on over 600 customers who were denied the ability to modify their mortgages while they sought federal aid.

“The predatory lending schemes and aggressive foreclosure proceedings practiced by Wells Fargo destabilizes neighborhoods and has a negative impact on families and the community. In addition, the recent reports that Wells Fargo denied mortgage modifications and ultimately foreclosed on those properties are further evidence of the bank’s malicious and insensitive treatment of people who placed their trust and financial futures with the bank,” DiVincenzo said. “As a County government we cannot control how banks operate, but we can support our residents and homeowners by sending a strong message that Essex County will only invest its funds with institutions that have client-friendly business practices and support community building,” he added.

Essex County maintains accounts with 11 banking institutions. It had about $3.8 million with Wells Fargo.