Genma Holmes: Tavis, are you holding yourself Accountable?

14 Jun

by Genma Holmes

This is the third in a series of posts about Tavis Smiley and Wells Fargo, sponsor of the State of the Black Union (SOTBU). Everyone is in uproar about Wells Fargo employees calling loans to black mortgage holders “ghetto loans” and the disdain they showed for the customers they made the most profit from. But the media, especially black media, has been very silent about the role Tavis Smiley played in helping stack this ill fated deck of cards that has plagued the black community in several major cities.

When Mr. Smiley first partnered with Wells Fargo in 2005, he was a TEACHER of economic empowerment and assembled seminars around the country as the keynote speaker for wealth building. Press releases filled every major news outlet inbox and black newspapers were infected with faxes stating Mr. Smiley’s desire to teach the principles of home ownership as the key for breaking the cycle of poverty in the African American community. All this knowledge was given at no charge to trusting black folks. This was the golden ticket to obtaining the elusive piece of the pie via Mr. Smiley’s recommendations. Surely the intentions of all involved were pure and Mr. Smiley had vetted Wells Fargo thoroughly. Or so we thought. My granddaddy would say often, “Be wise when someone wants to give you something for free, there will be a price to pay later.”

Here’s what Mr. Smiley and Wells Fargo said in 2005 according to a widely circulated press release:

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Joins With Tavis Smiley to Offer Free Wealth Building Strategies Seminar in Washington, DC Tavis Smiley and a Host of Financial Experts Share Information About Building Generational Wealth and Family Financial Security

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ — Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the nation’s leading originator of home loans to ethnic minority customers, has joined forces with talk show host and author, Tavis Smiley; and several financial affairs experts to provide free Wealth Building Strategies Seminars in eight cities across the country, including Washington, D.C. Additional seminars featuring other popular panelists also will be offered in 12 more cities, nationwide.
The Washington, D.C. event will take place Sat., Sept. 10 at the
Hilton Washington, 1919 Connecticut Ave., NW, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. For more information, or to register for the event contact 866-275-8584 or visit

"African-American households had $656 billion in earned income in 2003, an increase of 3.9 percent over the previous year*," said Jackson Cosey, senior vice president of emerging markets, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. "The Wells Fargo Wealth Building Seminars will teach attendees the best route to make their income work for them over time through homeownership, investments and credit improvement while simultaneously helping them plan for their financial futures."
The free day-long events will feature interactive sessions and one-on-one meetings with financial experts, real estate professionals and Wells Fargo home mortgage consultants who will share information on building generational wealth and family financial security. In addition, the Wealth Building Strategies Seminars will include a keynote address by Tavis Smiley, the first person to ever simultaneously host signature talk shows on both the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and Public Radio International (PRI).

Other cities on the Wells Fargo Wealth Building Strategies Tour include
Los Angeles, Richmond, Va., Dallas, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago and Baltimore.

"All families dream about home ownership, college education, world travel and more but may not know the best steps to becoming financially independent,” said Smiley. "I am thrilled to be a part of the Wells Fargo Wealth Building Strategies Seminars tour because I truly believe this event offers attendees the fundamental tools they need to make their dreams a reality."

In addition to Smiley, acclaimed financial authority Kelvin Boston, host
of PBS’s financial affairs series "MoneyWise with Kelvin Boston" will be among the event speakers. The Wells Fargo Wealth Building Strategies Seminar also will feature interactive breakout sessions focused on topics including real estate, investing, and credit. Each seminar will feature a panel of experts who will provide a range of information related to their topic followed by a question and answer session. Following the breakout sessions, panelists will be on hand to meet privately with attendees to get advice related to their specific issues.

The Wells Fargo Wealth Building Strategies tour is just one of many
initiatives that showcase Wells Fargo’s commitment to its customers and the African-American community. Other programs include the African-American Business Services program which supports economic development in the African-American community and their Afro-centric branch designs which reflect the local African-American community and celebrate its heritage.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is the nation’s No. 1 retail mortgage lender**, the No, 1 lender to low- to moderate-income and ethnic minority customers, and one of the country’s leading servicers of home mortgages. It operates the country’s largest mortgage network from more than 2,300 mortgage and Wells Fargo banking stores and on the Internet. Based in Des Moines, Iowa, it services loans for over 5 million customers nationwide.

(Source: Wells Fargo/PR Newswire)

Click to read more on Genma Holmes’ Blog


4 Responses to “Genma Holmes: Tavis, are you holding yourself Accountable?”

  1. Mike June 19, 2009 at 9:25 am #

    It is all good that the covers are being pull back on this closet hustler and his crew. I commend you.

  2. Loan For Free June 19, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

    According to the Mortgage Finders Network, the feeling of being turned down for a mortgage is not something that people enjoy. It can make you feel helpless; like you have nowhere to turn. So what are your options? Well, you should not just sit there and give up. You need to become active and make sure you can change things for the good.


  1. Genma Holmes Seeks to Hold Tavis Smiley Accountable on the Wells Fargo Scandal « Black Money and Black Wealth, made simple - June 14, 2009

    […] Click to read more on the African American Money Blog […]

  2. Genma Holmes Tries to Show Tavis True Accountability « Black Public Scholars - June 14, 2009

    […] Click to read more on the African American Money Blog […]

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