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Published: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 1:30 AM
Updated: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 1:29 AM
NEW YORK — A different Wells Fargo chief executive met a similar kind of anger from Congress on Tuesday, with politicians from both major parties saying they feel the bank has done little to change its culture since a scandal over its sales practices.
Tim Sloan appeared in front of the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, D.C., about a year since his predecessor did the same to try to explain how employees trying to meet ambitious sales goals created millions of accounts without customers knowing about or authorizing them.
Sloan apologized again and said the bank was committed to its customers. Some lawmakers weren't in a forgiving mood. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota, expressed anger about the sales practices as well as a later auto insurance scandal involving customers signed up for coverage they didn't want.
"We need to see a cultural change," Heitkamp said. "I simply don't hear it. We hear you say, 'We don't know! We will look into it! We care about the consumer!' but I do not hear a level of cultural change that satisfies me today."
Republicans were at times equally as upset.
"At least, we are irritated at Wells Fargo," said Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina.
While Sloan said he remains "deeply sorry" for its previous sales practices, he was at times combative and defensive.
In particular, he strongly defended Wells Fargo's practice of sending its customers into what's known as forced arbitration, which is when customers have to use a third party to resolve their disputes instead of filing a class-action lawsuit with others.
Asked by Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, if Wells Fargo would consider ending that practice, Sloan responded with a curt "no."
The sales practices scandal was the biggest in Wells Fargo's history. When then-CEO John Stumpf faced Congress last fall, he was chastised for his answers and for what lawmakers saw as an attempt to shift blame. The bank's once-sterling industry reputation was in tatters, and Stumpf was eventually ousted.
Wells Fargo ended up paying $185 million to regulators and settled a class-action suit for $142 million. It's been trying to make amends with customers, politicians and the public.
Since last fall, Wells has changed its sales practices, ousted other executives and called tens of millions of customers to check on whether they truly opened the accounts.
"I apologize for the damage done to all the people who work and bank at this important American institution," Sloan said.
The scandal has only grown since Stumpf's appearance. The bank says up to 3.5 million fake accounts were opened between 2009 and 2016, up from the 2 million it acknowledged in September 2016. A report by the board of directors found the bad behavior could be traced back to as early as 2002, and that executives were aware of some sales practices problems as early as 2006.
After the sales practices came a new scandal: Wells Fargo admitted it signed up hundreds of thousands of auto loan customers for auto insurance they did not need. Some of those customers had their cars repossessed because they could not afford both the auto loan and insurance payments.
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a vocal critic of Wells Fargo, called for Sloan's firing.
One critique of Sloan, a 29-year veteran of the bank, has been that he was the chief financial officer while the fake accounts were being created. Wells Fargo and Sloan himself have defended his role, saying he was not supervising the consumer banking division at the time and therefore was not responsible for what occurred there.
Published: Sunday, July 08, 2018 @ 6:00 PM
— Premier Health will hold an open house this month for its Mason urgent care location at 7450 Mason Montgomery Road. This site is the seventh location to open across Southwest Ohio.
The Premier Health Urgent Care in Mason will have an open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 21 before officially opening to patients July 23.
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The urgent care location will handle a variety of health care needs from minor illnesses such as sinus infections, earaches, allergies and pink eye to injuries such as fractured bones. Providers will also be able to conduct school and sports physicals, and administer vaccinations. Diagnostic testing for the flu, pregnancy and strep can be done on-site as well as X-rays.
The location will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the week. Each Premier Health Urgent Care will be staffed by local advanced practice providers, which are physician assistants and nurse practitioners who work under the close supervision of a physician.
Patients will be able to register for an appointment time online and wait in the comfort of their own home up until the time of their appointment. Walk-in appointments will also be available through registration at self-check-in kiosks. Individuals who check-in on-site may leave to run errands while they wait for their time to arrive, and be alerted through mobile devices when their appointment is getting close so they do not run the risk of losing their spot in line.
Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 4:23 PM
— Ohio Democrats gathered in front of Good Samaritan Hospital on Friday to advocate for Medicaid expansion support.
The Dayton hospital is poised to close 12:01 a.m. Monday, and the hospital’s emergency department has already closed.
Local Democratic candidates said erosion of Medicaid expansion could lead to more hospital closings as that burden of care covered under the state-federal insurance program instead becomes unpaid hospital bills and lost revenue.
Premier Health, which operates Good Samaritan, has said the hospital is closing because it isn’t sustainable to maintain two hospitals five miles from of each other when health care is shifting to outpatient settings and the population in Dayton is falling.
Premier did not endorse the event outside of the hospital.
Premier said in a statement following the event that the Dayton area is one of just a few large metropolitan areas in the United States that lack a public or university-operated hospital, which help cover the community cost of caring for Medicaid patients, and that combined with a “low per-capita level of local levy support for health services” underscores why area hospitals need Ohio’s Medicaid expansion to remain in place.
“However, Medicaid expansion was not a factor in the decision to close Good Samaritan Hospital’s main campus on Philadelphia Drive. Instead, Premier Health is doing its part to address the excess number of inpatient beds across the entire Dayton region,” Premier stated.
But Ohio Democrats still highlighted it Friday as a symbol of how curtailed Medicaid expansion could harm hospitals because they said it shows an example of a hospital closing and how that affects a community.
David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said Good Samaritan is “symbolic, unfortunately, of what might happen if we don’t get it right in November.”
“This November we have on the ballot a group of candidates like the candidates here today who are fighting for things like Medicaid expansion, they are fighting for people with pre-existing conditions,” he said. “On the other side we have opponents who have voted again and again against Medicaid expansion.”
Besides Pepper, those in attendance included Ohio Senate District 5 candidate Paul Bradley, Ohio House District 40 candidate Ryan Rebecca Taylor, Ohio House District 41 candidate and Dayton Public Schools Board Vice President John McManus and Ohio House District 42 candidate Zach Dickerson.
Mike DeWine, Republican candidate for Ohio governor, recently said he would support keeping Medicaid expansion but would want reforms like work requirements.
As Ohio Attorney General, DeWine had previously challenged the Affordable Care Act and its provisions, including Medicaid expansion. His Democratic opponent, Richard Cordray, supports Medicaid expansion.
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 10:03 AM
— The magical world of Harry Potter is coming to Ohio.
Ohio-Made Getaways is hosting “A Magical Getaway: Celebrating Potter Palooza” in Lancaster on Aug. 3 and 4. Fairfield County District Library’s community-wide celebration of 20 years of Harry Potter is a two-day getaway with plenty of fun activities for wizards and muggles of all ages.
Lancaster is less than two hours from Dayton. Guests pick up a Marauder’s Map at the visitors center at 205 W. Main St. The festival includes:
• A wizarding costume contest at the library on 2 p.m. at 219 N. Broad St.
• Wizard Rock Band Tonks & the Aurors concert at 3 p.m. at the Downtown Bandstand at 3 p.m. on Friday
• Quidditch Demonstration at Rising Park at 203 E. Fair Ave. at 10 a.m. on Saturday
• Hogwarts Herbology class, where you will create and tend to your very own magical mandrake plant to take home and watch grow
• Visit Ollivander’s Wand Shop at the First Presbyterian Church (222 N. Broad St.)
• Art and Clay offers a“Mischief Managed” dinner plate painting project with a fun and simple design
• Two Broke Artists lead a Harry Potter Youth Painting Class.
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Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 8:17 AM
— A retailer at The Greene Town Center alerted customers about an issue with transactions being processed correctly at its store.
Jake’s Toggery, a clothing retailer, sent an email to customers alerting them about an issue with their credit card processor. NCR Merchant Solutions told the retailer that transactions made at two locations of Jake’s Toggery did not process correctly.
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The two impacted stores are Jake’s Toggery at The Greene in Beavercreek and Jake’s Toggery Polaris in Columbus. If a customer made a purchase at one of these store locations from June 21 to July 17, the purchase has not shown up on their credit card statement. The retailer said NCR Merchant Solutions is working to reprocess each affected transactions, which should hit accounts soon, according to the email.
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“We recognize how concerning seeing an unrecognized or forgotten transaction from several weeks ago might be, but please rest assured that our servers and systems are secure, and that at no time would any of your information have been compromised,” the email stated.
NCR Merchant Solutions has issued the following statement: “We sincerely apologize for this issue and are hoping to get all corrected soon.”
Jake’s Toggery also has a location at the Liberty Center in Liberty Twp.
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