The Google Developer Studio is run by Peter Lubbers, a longtime member of the Fellowship of Friends. A July 2019 Fellowship directory, obtained by The Times, lists him as a member. Former members confirm that he joined the Fellowship after moving to the United States from the Netherlands.

At Google, he is a director, a role that is usually a rung below vice president in Google management and usually receives annual compensation in the high six figures or low seven figures.

Previously, Mr. Lubbers worked for the staffing company Kelly Services. M. Catherine Jones, Mr. Lloyd’s lawyer, won a similar suit against Kelly Services in 2008 on behalf of Lynn Noyes, who claimed that the company had failed to promote her because she was not a member of the Fellowship. A California court awarded Ms. Noyes $6.5 million in damages.

Ms. Noyes said in an interview that Mr. Lubbers was among a large contingent of Fellowship members from the Netherlands who worked for the company in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

At Kelly Services, Mr. Lubbers worked as a software developer before a stint at Oracle, the Silicon Valley software giant, according to his LinkedIn profile, which was recently deleted. He joined Google in 2012, initially working on a team that promoted Google technology to outside software developers. In 2014, he helped create G.D.S., which produced videos promoting Google developer tools.

Kelly Services declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Under Mr. Lubbers, the group brought in several other members of the Fellowship, including a video producer named Gabe Pannell. A 2015 photo posted to the internet by Mr. Pannell’s father shows Mr. Lubbers and Mr. Pannell with Mr. Burton, who is known as “The Teacher” or “Our Beloved Teacher” within the Fellowship. A caption on the photo, which was also recently deleted, calls Mr. Pannell a “new student.”

Echoing claims made in the lawsuit, Erik Johanson, a senior video producer who has worked for the Google Developer Studio since 2015 through ASG, said the team’s leadership abused the hiring system that brought workers in as contractors.

“They were able to further their own aims very rapidly because they could hire people with far less scrutiny and a far less rigorous on-boarding process than if these people were brought on as full-time employees,” he said. “It meant that no one was looking very closely when all these people were brought on from the foothills of the Sierras.”

Mr. Lloyd said that after applying for his job he had interviewed with Mr. Pannell twice, and that he had reported directly to Mr. Pannell when he joined a 25-person Bay Area video production team inside GDS in 2017. He soon noticed that nearly half this team, including Mr. Lubbers and Mr. Pannell, came from Oregon House.

Google paid to have a state-of-the-art sound system installed in the Oregon House home of one Fellowship member who worked for the team as a sound designer, according to the suit. Mr. Lubbers disputed this claim in a phone interview, saying the equipment was old and would have been thrown out if the team had not sent it to the home.

The sound designer’s daughter also worked for the team as a set designer. Additional Fellowship members and their relatives were hired to staff Google events, including a photographer, a masseuse, Mr. Lubbers’s wife and his son, who worked as a DJ at company parties.

The company frequently served wine from Grant Marie, a winery in Oregon House run by a Fellowship member who previously managed the Fellowship’s winery, according to the suit and a person familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified for fear of reprisal.

“My personal religious beliefs are a deeply held private matter,” Mr. Lubbers said. “In all my years in tech, they have never played a role in hiring. I have always performed my role by bringing in the right talent for the situation — bringing in the right vendors for the jobs.”

He said ASG, not Google, hired contractors for the GDS team, adding that it was fine for him to “encourage people to apply for those roles.” And he said that in recent years, the team has grown to more than 250 people, including part-time employees.

Mr. Pannell said in a phone interview that the team brought in workers from “a circle of trusted friends and families with extremely qualified backgrounds,” including graduates of the University of California, Berkeley.

In 2017 and 2018, according to the suit, Mr. Pannell attended video shoots intoxicated and occasionally threw things at the presenter when he was unhappy with a performance. Mr. Pannell said that he did not remember the incidents and that they did not sound like something he would do. He also acknowledged that he’d had problems with alcohol and had sought help.

After seven months at Google, Mr. Pannell was made a full-time employee, according to the suit. He was later promoted to senior producer and then executive producer, according to his LinkedIn profile, which has also been deleted.

Mr. Lloyd brought much of this to the attention of a manager inside the team, he said. But he was repeatedly told not to pursue the matter because Mr. Lubbers was a powerful figure at Google and because Mr. Lloyd could lose his job, according to his lawsuit. He said he was fired in February 2021 and was not given a reason. Google, Mr. Lubbers and Mr. Pannell said he had been fired for performance issues.

Ms. Jones, Mr. Lloyd’s lawyer, argued that Google’s relationship with ASG allowed members of the Fellowship to join the company without being properly vetted. “This is one of the methods the Fellowship used in the Kelly case,” she said. “They can get through the door without the normal scrutiny.”

Mr. Lloyd is seeking damages for wrongful termination, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination and the intentional infliction of emotion distress. But he said he worries that, by doing so much business with its members, Google fed money into the Fellowship of Friends.

“Once you become aware of this, you become responsible,” Mr. Lloyd said. “You can’t look away.”

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PPG Highlights Tikkurila Acquisition, ESG Progress at 2022 Investor Day

HELSINKI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PPG (NYSE:PPG) today announced it hosted an Investor Day in Helsinki, Finland, on June 9, 2022, highlighting the company’s growth through recent acquisitions, including Tikkurila, and its latest environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives and goals.

PPG provided an update on the integration and performance of Tikkurila, a leading Nordic paints and coatings company acquired in 2021. PPG leaders discussed how Tikkurila:

  • Provides PPG with above-industry sales and earnings growth opportunities,
  • Strengthens PPG’s architectural coatings portfolio and drives margin expansion with its premium brands and leading technologies,
  • Expands PPG’s architectural coatings footprint in EMEA and China, provides cross-selling opportunities across the Nordic region,
  • Bolsters PPG’s distribution channels,
  • Brings a complementary organizational culture to PPG, which is helping to deliver integration synergies, and
  • Has a strong focus on sustainability, which complements PPG’s ESG strategy.

In addition to Tikkurila, PPG leaders highlighted the progress of the other most recent acquisitions, including VersaFlex, Cetelon, Worwag and Ennis-Flint.

“Acquisitions are a key to PPG’s long-term growth strategy and continue to create value for the company. We are pleased with the integration pace of our five most recent acquisitions,” said Tim Knavish, PPG chief operating officer. “Since we completed the acquisitions, we have identified further opportunities to drive our total synergy target to $150 million – a 15% increase from the original goal.”

During the Investor Day, PPG also discussed its leading ESG program. Included topics were PPG’s recently published diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) report, its scopes 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emission reduction roadmap and its commitment to set near-term emission reduction targets in line with climate science through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). PPG has an existing goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 15% by 2025 from a 2017 baseline, achieving a 9.7% reduction in 2021. The company plans to unveil its new 2030 goals in the coming months. To learn more about PPG’s progress and sustainable solutions, visit the company’s 2021 ESG Report at sustainability.ppg.com.

“We have made great progress towards our 2025 targets, which include the goal of 40% of our sales from sustainably advantaged products,” said Diane Kappas, PPG vice president, Global Sustainability. “We are leveraging capabilities to continue to drive innovation and new product development toward more sustainable solutions, which will enable our customers’ ability to meet their sustainability commitments and targets.”

Further Details on Investor Day

The presentation from PPG’s 2022 Investor Day is available in PPG’s Investor Center at https://investor.ppg.com/presentations/presentations/default.aspx

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements contained herein relating to matters that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements reflecting PPG’s current view with respect to future events and financial performance. These matters within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, involve risks and uncertainties that may affect PPG’s operations, as discussed in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(c) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. Accordingly, many factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s forward-looking statements. Such factors include statements related to the expected effects on our business of COVID-19, global economic conditions, geopolitical issues in Europe, increasing price and product competition by our competitors, fluctuations in cost and availability of raw materials, energy, labor and logistics, the ability to achieve selling price increases, the ability to recover margins, margin expansion, customer inventory levels, our ability to maintain favorable supplier relationships and arrangements, the timing of and the realization of anticipated cost savings from restructuring and other initiatives, the ability to identify additional cost savings opportunities, the timing and expected benefits of our acquisitions, difficulties in integrating acquired businesses and achieving expected sales and synergies therefrom, economic and political conditions in the markets we serve, the ability to penetrate existing, developing and emerging foreign and domestic markets, foreign exchange rates and fluctuations in such rates, fluctuations in tax rates, the impact of future legislation, the impact of environmental regulations, the ability to meet sustainability targets, unexpected business disruptions, the unpredictability of existing and possible future litigation, including asbestos litigation and governmental investigations. However, it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors. Consequently, while the list of factors presented here and under Item 1A of PPG’s 2021 Form 10-K is considered representative, no such list should be considered to be a complete statement of all potential risks and uncertainties. Unlisted factors may present significant additional obstacles to the realization of forward-looking statements. Consequences of material differences in the results compared with those anticipated in the forward-looking statements could include, among other things, lower sales or earnings, business disruption, operational problems, financial loss, legal liability to third parties, other factors set forth in Item 1A of PPG’s 2021 Form 10-K and similar risks, any of which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated financial condition, results of operations or liquidity. ​

All information in this release speaks only as of June 9, 2022, and any distribution of this release after that date is not intended and will not be construed as updating or confirming such information. PPG undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, except as otherwise required by applicable law.

PPG: WE PROTECT AND BEAUTIFY THE WORLD™

At PPG (NYSE:PPG), we work every day to develop and deliver the paints, coatings and specialty materials that our customers have trusted for nearly 140 years. Through dedication and creativity, we solve our customers’ biggest challenges, collaborating closely to find the right path forward. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, we operate and innovate in more than 75 countries and reported net sales of $16.8 billion in 2021. We serve customers in construction, consumer products, industrial and transportation markets, and aftermarkets. To learn more, visit www.ppg.com.

We protect and beautify the world is a trademark and Colorful Communities and the PPG Logo are registered trademarks of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc.

CATEGORY Corporate

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Redwood Trust Prices Upsized $200 Million Convertible Senior Notes Offering

MILL VALLEY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Redwood Trust, Inc. (NYSE: RWT; “Redwood” or the “Company”), a leader in expanding access to housing for homebuyers and renters, today announced that it priced $200,000,000 aggregate principal amount of its 7.75% convertible senior notes due 2027 (the “Notes”) in a private offering to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). The aggregate principal amount of the offering was increased from the previously announced offering size of $150,000,000. Redwood granted the initial purchasers of the Notes an option to purchase, for settlement within a period of 13 days from, and including, the date the Notes are first issued, up to an additional $30,000,000 principal amount of Notes. The Notes will be senior unsecured obligations of Redwood. The offering is expected to close on June 9, 2022, subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions.

Interest on the Notes will be payable semi-annually in arrears on June 15 and December 15 of each year, beginning on December 15, 2022; the Notes will mature on June 15, 2027, unless earlier repurchased, redeemed or converted. Upon conversion, holders of the Notes will receive shares of Redwood’s common stock, together with cash in lieu of any fractional share. If Redwood undergoes a “fundamental change” (as defined in the offering memorandum relating to the Notes), subject to certain conditions, holders of the Notes may require Redwood to repurchase all or part of their Notes for cash in an amount equal to the principal amount of the Notes to be repurchased, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any.

Before March 15, 2027, holders will have the right to convert their notes only upon the occurrence of certain events. From and after March 15, 2027, holders may convert their notes at any time at their election until the close of business on the second scheduled trading day immediately before the maturity date. Redwood will have the right to elect to settle conversions either entirely in cash or in a combination of cash and shares of its common stock. However, upon conversion of any notes, the conversion value, which will be determined over a period of multiple trading days, will be paid in cash up to at least the principal amount of the notes being converted. Any conversions of Notes into shares of Redwood common stock will be subject to certain ownership limitations set forth in Redwood’s charter documents. The initial conversion rate is 95.6823 shares of common stock per $1,000 principal amount of Notes, equivalent to a conversion price of approximately $10.45 per share, which is an approximately 12.50% premium to the closing price of Redwood’s common stock on June 6, 2022.

Redwood will have the right to redeem the Notes, in whole or in part, at its option at any time prior to maturity to the extent necessary to preserve its status as a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In addition, subject to certain limitations, Redwood will have the right to redeem the Notes, in whole or in part, at its option on or after June 16, 2025, but only if the last reported sale price per share of Redwood’s common stock exceeds 130% of the conversion price for a specified period of time. The redemption price for any Note called for redemption will be a cash amount equal to the principal amount of the Notes to be redeemed, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any.

Redwood intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for investment and funding purposes, which may include investing in organically sourced assets through Redwood’s mortgage banking businesses, opportunistically investing in third-party securities and other long-term and strategic assets for its investment portfolio, funding strategic acquisitions and investments, and funding the activities of Redwood’s residential and business purpose mortgage banking businesses, as well as for general corporate purposes and potential open market purchases of common stock or debt. In addition, Redwood intends to use approximately $25.0 million of the net proceeds from the offering to repurchase approximately 2.7 million shares of its common stock concurrently with the offering in privately negotiated transactions effected through one of the initial purchasers of the Notes or its affiliate, as Redwood’s agent.

The offer and sale of the Notes and any shares of common stock issuable upon conversion of the Notes have not been, and will not be, registered under the Securities Act or any other securities laws, and the Notes and any such shares cannot be offered or sold except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and any other applicable securities laws. This press release does not constitute an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, the Notes or any shares of common stock issuable upon conversion of the Notes, nor will there be any sale of the Notes or any such shares, in any state or other jurisdiction in which such offer, sale or solicitation would be unlawful.

About Redwood Trust

Redwood Trust, Inc. (NYSE: RWT) is a specialty finance company focused on several distinct areas of housing credit. Our operating platforms occupy a unique position in the housing finance value chain, providing liquidity to growing segments of the U.S. housing market not well served by government programs. We deliver customized housing credit investments to a diverse mix of investors, through our best-in-class securitization platforms; whole-loan distribution activities; and our publicly traded shares. Our aggregation, origination and investment activities have evolved to incorporate a diverse mix of residential, business purpose and multifamily assets. Our goal is to provide attractive returns to shareholders through a stable and growing stream of earnings and dividends, capital appreciation, and a commitment to technological innovation that facilitates risk-minded scale. We operate our business in three segments: Residential Mortgage Banking, Business Purpose Mortgage Banking and Investment Portfolio. Additionally, through RWT Horizons™, our venture investing initiative, we invest in early-stage companies strategically aligned with our business across the lending, real estate, and financial technology sectors to drive innovations across our residential and business-purpose lending platforms. Since going public in 1994, we have managed our business through several cycles, built a track record of innovation, and established a best-in-class reputation for service and a common-sense approach to credit investing. Redwood Trust is internally managed and structured as a real estate investment trust for tax purposes.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, such as statements related to the offering and the expected use of the net proceeds. Forward-looking statements involve numerous risks and uncertainties. Redwood’s actual results may differ materially from those projected, and Redwood cautions investors not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this release. Forward-looking statements are not historical in nature and can be identified by words such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “believe,” “intend,” “seek,” “plan,” and similar expressions or their negative forms, or by references to strategy, plans, or intentions. No assurance can be given that the offering will be completed on the terms described, or at all, or that the net proceeds of the offering will be used as indicated. Completion of the offering on the terms described, and the application of net proceeds, are subject to numerous conditions, risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of Redwood, including, among other things, those described in Redwood’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Redwood undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

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Why a Not-So-Hot Economy Might Be Good News

When it comes to the economy, more is usually better.

Bigger job gains, faster wage growth and more consumer spending are all, in normal times, signs of a healthy economy. Growth might not be sufficient to ensure widespread prosperity, but it is necessary — making any loss of momentum a worrying sign that the economy could be losing steam or, worse, headed into a recession.

But these are not normal times. With nearly twice as many open jobs as available workers and companies struggling to meet record demand, many economists and policymakers argue that what the economy needs right now is not more, but less — less hiring, less wage growth and above all less inflation, which is running at its fastest pace in four decades.

Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, has called the labor market “unsustainably hot,” and the central bank is raising interest rates to try to cool it. President Biden, who met with Mr. Powell on Tuesday, wrote in an opinion article this week in The Wall Street Journal that a slowdown in job creation “won’t be a cause for concern” but would rather be “a sign that we are successfully moving into the next phase of recovery.”

“We want a full and sustainable recovery,” said Claudia Sahm, a former Fed economist who has studied the government’s economic policy response to the pandemic. “The reason that we can’t take the victory lap right now on the recovery — the reason it is incomplete — is because inflation is too high.”

undo much of that progress.

“That’s the needle we’re trying to thread right now,” said Harry J. Holzer, a Georgetown University economist. “We want to give up as few of the gains that we’ve made as possible.”

Economists disagree about the best way to strike that balance. Mr. Powell, after playing down inflation last year, now says reining it in is his top priority — and argues that the central bank can do so without cutting the recovery short. Some economists, particularly on the right, want the Fed to be more aggressive, even at the risk of causing a recession. Others, especially on the left, argue that inflation, while a problem, is a lesser evil than unemployment, and that the Fed should therefore pursue a more cautious approach.

But where progressives and conservatives largely agree is that evaluating the economy will be particularly difficult over the next several months. Distinguishing a healthy cool-down from a worrying stall will require looking beyond the indicators that typically make headlines.

“It’s a very difficult time to interpret economic data and to even understand what’s happening with the economy,” said Michael R. Strain, an economist with the American Enterprise Institute. “We’re entering a period where there’s going to be tons of debate over whether we are in a recession right now.”

11.4 million job openings at the end of April, close to a record. But there are roughly half a million fewer people either working or actively looking for work than when the pandemic began, leaving employers scrambling to fill available jobs.

The labor force has grown significantly this year, and forecasters expect more workers to return as the pandemic and the disruptions it caused continue to recede. But the pandemic may also have driven longer-lasting shifts in Americans’ work habits, and economists aren’t sure when or under what circumstances the labor force will make a complete rebound. Even then, there might not be enough workers to meet the extraordinarily high level of employer demand.

Persistently weak pay increases were a bleak hallmark of the long, slow recovery that followed the last recession. But even some economists who bemoaned those sluggish gains at the time say the current rate of wage growth is unsustainable.

“That’s something that we’re used to saying pretty unequivocally is good, but in this case it just raises the risk that the economy is overheating further,” said Adam Ozimek, chief economist of the Economic Innovation Group, a Washington research organization. As long as wages are rising 5 or 6 percent per year, he said, it will be all but impossible to bring inflation down to the Fed’s 2 percent target.

Fed officials are watching closely for signs of a “wage-price spiral,” a self-reinforcing pattern in which workers expect inflation and therefore demand raises, leading employers to increase prices to compensate. Once such a cycle takes hold, it can be difficult to break — a prospect Mr. Powell has cited in explaining why the central bank has become more aggressive in fighting inflation.

“It’s a risk that we simply can’t run,” he said at a news conference last month. “We can’t allow a wage-price spiral to happen. And we can’t allow inflation expectations to become unanchored. It’s just something that we can’t allow to happen, and so we’ll look at it that way.”

speech in Germany this week, Christopher J. Waller, a Fed governor, argued that as demand slows, employers are likely to start posting fewer jobs before they turn to layoffs. That could result in slower wage growth — since with fewer employers trying to hire, there will be less competition for workers — without a big increase in unemployment.

“I think there’s room right now for inflation to come down a significant amount without unemployment coming up,” said Mike Konczal, an economist at the Roosevelt Institute.

The Fed’s efforts to cool off the economy are already bearing fruit, Mr. Konczal said. Mortgage rates have risen sharply, and there are signs that the housing market is slowing as a result. The stock market has lost almost 15 percent of its value since the beginning of the year. That loss of wealth is likely to lead at least some consumers to pull back on their spending, which will lead to a pullback in hiring. Job openings fell in April, though they remained high, and wage growth has eased.

“There’s a lot of evidence to suggest the economy has already slowed down,” Mr. Konczal said. He said he was optimistic that the United States was on a path toward “normalizing to a regular good economy” instead of the boomlike one it has experienced over the past year.

But the thing about such a “soft landing,” as Fed officials call it, is that it is still a landing. Wage growth will be slower. Job opportunities will be fewer. Workers will have less leverage to demand flexible schedules or other perks. For the Fed, achieving that outcome without causing a recession would be a victory — but it might not feel like one to workers.

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Signature Bank Appoints Corporate Mortgage Finance Group

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Signature Bank (Nasdaq: SBNY), a New York-based, full-service commercial bank, announced today the appointment of its Corporate Mortgage Finance (CMF) Group. The CMF group provides financing solutions for a range of mortgage-related collateral across Signature Bank’s national footprint. The Signature Bank CMF Group is experienced in understanding the complexities of the mortgage origination, servicing and investment sectors and works with clients to structure commercial and residential mortgage-supported financing facilities to meet their strategic liquidity and balance sheet management needs.

Heading the new CMF team is Kenneth D. Logan, Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB), who brings more than 35 years of real estate finance, warehouse lending, asset-backed structured lending and corporate finance to his new role as Managing Group Director and Senior Vice President. In this capacity, Logan oversees the Group’s strategy, direction and execution as well as handles portfolio and credit management responsibilities. Prior to joining Signature Bank in 2021, Logan spent 12 years at Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC (including time at predecessor Wachovia Bank) as Managing Director of the Mortgage Banker Finance Group, which he founded and headed. In this role, Logan had executive leadership and daily management oversight of all aspects of this business. During his career, he also founded and led four successful mortgage finance groups for other large institutions and was a founding shareholder of a community bank, also engaged in mortgage finance.

On the heels of Logan’s appointment, other key banking professionals were added to the CMF Group, which now totals 14 colleagues. Several of these individuals previously worked together at their former institutions.

Kelly Kucsma was appointed Director of CMF Operations and Senior Vice President, responsible for all operational areas of CMF, including client onboarding, individual loan approvals, loan level and client level monitoring and treasury functions related to funding and repayment of transactions. Kucsma spent 21 years at Wells Fargo Bank (and predecessor Wachovia Bank) in Charlotte, N.C., most recently as Director, Warehouse Lending Operations and Transactional Due Diligence within their Asset Backed Finance and Mortgage Banker Finance Group. During her tenure, she held a range of mortgage banking related leadership roles, spending 14 years specifically in Warehouse Lending Operations.

Paul Tirella and Michelle Marrapodi were each named Associate Group Director and Vice President – CMF, handling business development and relationship management, working with mortgage lenders, aggregators and servicers nationwide to represent Signature Bank’s suite of financing services to the mortgage industry. This includes the financing of residential, business purpose, multi-family and commercial mortgage loans and servicing rights.

Tirella joins from Bank United where he was a Vice President – Business Development for the Residential Warehouse Group. For five years, he aided in growing the residential mortgage warehouse lending business, sourcing a plethora of counterparties, which led to the business line’s expansion. Other roles included banking relationship management and credit-related positions at UBS and JPMorgan Chase & Co., among others.

Marrapodi, with more than three decades of banking experience, had been Senior Vice President, Warehouse Lending at Prosperity Bank. In this position, she developed and managed warehouse lending relationships with independent mortgage banking firms nationwide. Throughout her career, Marrapodi held related roles at ZAIS Group, EverBank, Astoria Federal Savings, MetLife Home Loans and Credit Suisse First Boston, just to name a few.

Keith Ashworth was appointed to Operations Manager and Vice President for the CMF Group, where he manages non-treasury operations for CMF. Bringing more than two decades of experience to his role, Ashworth was Operations Manager and Vice President at Wells Fargo in Atlanta for 12 years, during which time he worked with both Logan and Kucsma.

Michael Tenkerian, with 20 years of industry related experience, was named Vice President and Treasury Manager for the CMF Group, overseeing cash management and wire transactions. Previously, he spent seven years at Bank of Hope in California as Senior Vice President and head of Warehouse Lending.

Melissa Marini, with 21 years of financial services and mortgage banking expertise, is Vice President of Specialty Operations for the CMF Group, where she evaluates applicable lending opportunities for the Group. She also joins from Wells Fargo Bank (Charlotte), where she was an underwriter for 15 years and worked with certain members of the Signature Bank CMF Group.

Jason Carter, as Vice President, Underwriter and Portfolio Manager with CMF, handles reviewing of financial and collateral information for prospects and oversees a portfolio of direct and indirect asset-based credit facilities. He manages the loan documentation process coordinating activities with underwriters, field examiners and operations staff to ensure proper ongoing account administration. For five years prior to joining Signature Bank, Carter was Vice President – Portfolio Manager at Associated Bank in Chicago.

Christine Castner was also appointed to the post of Vice President, Underwriter and Portfolio Manager with CMF, primarily underwriting new facilities and monitoring existing deals. With a career spanning 30 years, she spent the past eight as Vice President, Senior Credit Analyst at Prosperity Bank before joining the CMF Group. Castner also was Senior Credit Officer, Warehouse Lending at Ally Bank and spent 10+ years with GMAC/RFC, starting as an analyst and then moving into the credit officer role.

Other professionals with substantial mortgage finance experience rounding out the CMF Group are:

“Throughout the past decade, we have demonstrated many times over to the marketplace our keen ability to identify opportunities for adding complementary business lines and attracting veteran teams who built an expertise within their areas. We have nurtured these initiatives, delivering solid results across the board. The CMF Group will be no exception. We have assembled a group of top-notch professionals who possess extensive warehouse lending experience, all of whom bring distinct talents within this novel space to our enterprise. With the addition of these seasoned colleagues, we look forward to the increasing contributions the CMF team will make as well as the business line’s growth and impact,” explained Joseph J. DePaolo, Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer at Signature Bank.

Logan commented on his development of the CMF Group: “The Bank’s mission-driven approach and client-centric philosophy affords my team the chance to truly leverage our vast expertise, build our business line and grow autonomously. All the professionals in the new CMF Group bring a deep expertise within our niche business, which will bode well for the Bank’s growth as it moves forward in this arena.”

About Signature Bank

Signature Bank (Nasdaq: SBNY), member FDIC, is a New York-based, full-service commercial bank with 38 private client offices throughout the metropolitan New York area, as well as those in Connecticut, California and North Carolina. Through its single-point-of-contact approach, the Bank’s private client banking teams primarily serve the needs of privately owned businesses, their owners and senior managers.

The Bank has two wholly owned subsidiaries: Signature Financial, LLC, provides equipment finance and leasing; and, Signature Securities Group Corporation, a licensed broker-dealer, investment adviser and member FINRA/SIPC, offers investment, brokerage, asset management and insurance products and services.

Since commencing operations in May 2001, Signature Bank reached $121.85 billion in assets and $109.16 billion in deposits as of March 31, 2022. Signature Bank placed 19th on S&P Global’s list of the largest banks in the U.S., based on deposits at year-end 2021.

Signature Bank was the first FDIC-insured bank to launch a blockchain-based digital payments platform. Signet™ allows commercial clients to make real-time payments in U.S. dollars, 24/7/365 and was also the first solution to be approved for use by the NYS Department of Financial Services.

For more information, please visit https://www.signatureny.com.

This press release and oral statements made from time to time by our representatives contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You should not place undue reliance on those statements because they are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties relating to our operations and business environment, all of which are difficult to predict and may be beyond our control. Forward-looking statements include information concerning our expectations regarding future results, interest rates and the interest rate environment, loan and deposit growth, loan performance, operations, new private client teams’ hires, new office openings, business strategy and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on each of the foregoing and on our business overall. Forward-looking statements often include words such as “may,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “potential,” “opportunity,” “could,” “project,” “seek,” “target,” “goal,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “plan,” “estimate” or other similar expressions. As you consider forward-looking statements, you should understand that these statements are not guarantees of performance or results. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements and can change as a result of many possible events or factors, not all of which are known to us or in our control. These factors include but are not limited to: (i) prevailing economic conditions; (ii) changes in interest rates, loan demand, real estate values and competition, any of which can materially affect origination levels and gain on sale results in our business, as well as other aspects of our financial performance, including earnings on interest-bearing assets; (iii) the level of defaults, losses and prepayments on loans made by us, whether held in portfolio or sold in the whole loan secondary markets, which can materially affect charge-off levels and required credit loss reserve levels; (iv) changes in monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. Government, including policies of the U.S. Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; (v) changes in the banking and other financial services regulatory environment; (vi) our ability to maintain the continuity, integrity, security and safety of our operations and (vii) competition for qualified personnel and desirable office locations. All of these factors are subject to additional uncertainty in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, which are having impacts on all aspects of our operations, the financial services industry and the economy as a whole. Additional risks are described in our quarterly and annual reports filed with the FDIC. Although we believe that these forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, beliefs and expectations, if a change occurs or our beliefs, assumptions and expectations were incorrect, our business, financial condition, liquidity or results of operations may vary materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements. You should keep in mind that any forward-looking statements made by Signature Bank speak only as of the date on which they were made. New risks and uncertainties come up from time to time, and we cannot predict these events or how they may affect the Bank. Signature Bank has no duty to, and does not intend to, update or revise the forward-looking statements after the date on which they are made.

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Analysis: Russia’s ‘political’ debt default sets emerging market precedent

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  • Russia says has paid $100 mln in interest due on May 27
  • The country was rated investment grade in early 2022
  • A defaults pushes up borrowing costs for issuers

NEW YORK/LONDON, May 27 (Reuters) – Russia is on the cusp of a unique kind of debt crisis which investors say would be a first time a major emerging market economy is pushed into a bond default by geopolitics, rather than empty coffers.

Until the Kremlin launched an attack on Ukraine on Feb. 24, few would have entertained the possibility of Russia defaulting on its hard currency bonds. Its strong solvency track record, bumper export revenues and an inflation-fighting central bank had made it a favourite of emerging market investors.

But the U.S. Treasury’s decision not to extend a licence allowing Russia to keep up debt payments despite wide-ranging sanctions, have set Moscow on the road to default.

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The Russian finance ministry has wired some $100 million in interest payments on two bonds due on Friday to its domestic settlement house. But unless money shows up in foreign bondholders’ accounts, it will constitute a default by some definitions.

And even if funds go through this time, payments of nearly $2 billion are due by the end of the year. One in late June is mandated to be settled outside Russia – a task experts predict will be impossible without the U.S. waiver. read more

Emerging market debt crises are nothing new — Russia itself reneged on its rouble bonds in 1998. Geopolitics too have spilled into the debt sphere before, forcing defaults in Venezuela and Iran for instance.

Yet in Iran’s case, small amounts of loan debt were hit by U.S. sanctions after its 1979 revolution, while Venezuela’s economy was already on its knees before U.S. curbs in 2019 pushed $60 billion in sovereign and sub-sovereign debt across the brink.

Russia meanwhile continues to rake in oil and metals earnings. Even with half its $640 billion reserves’ war chest frozen by sanctions, the central bank has enough cash to repay the $40 billion outstanding in sovereign hard currency debt.

“This is a completely different crisis from other emerging market crises, it’s not about ability or willingness to pay, they technically cannot pay,” said Flavio Carpenzano, investment director at Capital Group, an asset manager that – like many others – was exposed to Russia before war erupted. read more

The impact is amplified by the fact this would be Russia’s first major foreign bond default since just after its 1917 Bolshevik revolution. Sanctions on Russia and its own countermeasures have effectively severed it from global financial systems.

Comparisons with recent defaults such as Argentina in 2020 are inappropriate because most countries’ finances are strained when defaults happen, said Stephane Monier, chief investment officer at Lombard Odier.

“This would be the first externally and politically driven default in emerging markets’ history,” Monier said.

The Treasury license expiry means creditors may be unable to receive payments anyway, which Daniel Moreno, head of global emerging market debt at Mirabaud Asset Management, likened to “turning the world upside down.”

“Me, the creditor, is now not willing to accept the payment,” he added.

NO GOING BACK

Russia’s international bonds, most of which started the year trading above par, have dropped in value to between 13-26 cents on the dollar. They have also been ejected from indexes.

A key difference with past defaulters such as Argentina or Venezuela is that Russia’s attack on Ukraine — which it calls a special operation — has made it a pariah in many investors’ eyes, probably for years to come.

“There is a huge stigma in actually holding these bonds, with emerging markets asset managers under pressure from their clients asking them not to invest in Russia and to liquidate their positions,” said Gabriele Foa, portfolio manager for the Algebris Global Credit Opportunity Fund.

For now, a potential default is symbolic because Russia cannot borrow internationally anyway, nor does it need to. But what comes further down the line is crucial.

Regime change in Russia could at some point end Western sanctions and allow it back into the fold.

But first, creditors face a long and costly process to recover money, for instance by exchanging defaulted bonds with new ones. read more

A default stigma would also raise future borrowing costs.

By defaulting “you increase the cost of funding and it’s very likely this will happen to Russia too. They will need to pay a premium,” said Capital Group’s Carpenzano.

The White House expects a default to have minimal impact on the U.S. or global economy but Carpenzano reckons events around Russia are forcing a re-assessment of geopolitical risks in emerging markets. read more

“Geopolitical noise has increased and investors would like to be compensated for this higher risk,” he said, citing China’s hefty investment outflows in recent weeks.

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Reporting by Davide Barbuscia in New York and Sujata Rao, Karin Strohecker, Marc Jones and Jorgelina do Rosario in London
Editing by Susan Fenton

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Analysis: As shortage persists, Reckitt tightens grip on U.S. baby formula market

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Cans of Enfamil baby formula, produced by Mead Johnson, on partially empty shelves in a Target store, amid continuing nationwide shortages in infant and toddler formula, in San Diego, California, U.S., May 25, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan

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LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) – The U.S. baby formula crisis has boosted profits at Britain’s Reckitt Benckiser and helped it grab the top spot in a $5.8 billion-a-year market. The challenge now will be to stay there.

With the business reportedly up for sale, there’s even more at stake.

Reckitt (RKT.L) has ramped up production of its Enfamil formula since U.S. rival Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) in February recalled dozens of products in the United States after customers complained of infants contracting bacterial infections.

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The British consumer goods company, which boosted formula production by 30%, told Reuters last week it now accounted for more than 50% of total baby formula supply in United States, up from around a third before the crisis. read more

Parents tend not to switch brands their infants like. A Reckitt spokesperson said the company was hoping to hold on to customers it has gained while Abbott products, such as Similac, are off the shelves.

The company said this week it was feeding 211,000 more babies than before the recall.

The stakes are high. Reckitt has reportedly long been looking to sell the formula business to focus on its higher margin household and consumer brands that range from Dettol disinfectants to Durex condoms. The Wall Street Journal said on Friday it was making a renewed sale attempt, and could fetch around $7 billion.

But the boost from the U.S. crisis may not last long.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on May 19 Abbott was on track to reopen its key baby formula plant in Michigan within one or two weeks, although FDA Commissioner Robert Califf told lawmakers a week later it would take until July before store shelves across the country were filled.

While Abbott’s recall has presented an opportunity for other firms, such as Gerber maker Nestle (NESN.S) and Neocate maker Danone (DANO.PA), it is Reckitt that is benefitting most, as it was already No.2 to Abbott before the crisis.

On April 1, Barclays raised its 2022 organic sales forecast for Reckitt to 4.4% from 4.0%, including an uplift to 7.4% from 5.0% at its nutrition division, which includes baby formula.

Less than five weeks later, it hiked its forecasts again to 6.0% for the group and 12.4% for the nutrition division.

According to Refinitiv, analysts have on average raised their full-year earnings forecast for Reckitt by 4.35% in the past 30 days, to about 311 pence per share.

“Near term, the biggest financial impact is going to be on Reckitt,” said Barclays analyst Iain Simpson. “The big question is how much of the recent market share gains Reckitt holds on to once Abbott is back on shelf.”

WILL IT LAST?

On its own, the sales hike would result in increased profits. But margins have been further boosted by the United States saying it will temporarily cover the cost of baby formula for low-income families dependent on government discounts in states contracted with Nestle and Reckitt. read more

Companies normally bid for state contracts to be the sole provider of baby formula for low-income families under the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) programme. In their bids, they offer a “rebate”, in the form of discounts, to the states.

The government’s intervention, aimed at incentivising firms to boost supplies, effectively covers that rebate.

Reuters Graphics

“Financially, it’s great both for the top-line and profitability because they don’t need to give a rebate to the state government for selling formula,” Bernstein analyst Bruno Monteyne said. “It probably will add at least 20-30 basis points of higher margins for as long as this lasts.”

Barclays’ Simpson agreed not being bound by a WIC contract would be a boost, estimating they have a 5% EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) margin versus about 40-45% for non-WIC contracts.

But some analysts say this boost is likely to be temporary, and Reckitt may not be able to keep its new customers.

While Bernstein’s Monteyne said there was “some truth” to the idea Reckitt could benefit longer-term from the damage to Abbott’s reputation, he noted the U.S. firm overcame a similar backlash from a 2010 formula recall within just a year.

“There is decent precedent,” he said.

Reckitt shareholder Waverton Investment Management also suspects the market share gain will prove short-term.

“The U.S. is looking for other sources already to fill demand,” said Waverton fund manager Tineke Frikkee said. “Over time Abbott will get their formula back on the shelves and Reckitt will revert to normal market share.”

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Reporting by Richa Naidu
Additional reporting by Leah Douglas
Editing by Matt Scuffham and Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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How Jack Welch’s Reign at G.E. Gave Us Elon Musk’s Twitter Feed

When Jack Welch died on March 1, 2020, tributes poured in for the longtime chief executive of General Electric, whom many revered as the greatest chief executive of all time.

David Zaslav, the C.E.O. of Warner Bros. Discovery and a Welch disciple, remembered him as an almost godlike figure. “Jack set the path. He saw the whole world. He was above the whole world,” Mr. Zaslav said. “What he created at G.E. became the way companies now operate.”

Mr. Zaslav’s words were meant as unequivocal praise. During Mr. Welch’s two decades in power — from 1981 to 2001 — he turned G.E. into the most valuable company in the world, groomed a flock of protégés who went on to run major companies of their own, and set the standard by which other C.E.O.s were measured.

Yet a closer examination of the Welch legacy reveals that he was not simply the “Manager of the Century,” as Fortune magazine crowned him upon his retirement.

broken up for good.

the fateful decision to redesign the 737 — a plane introduced in the 1960s — once more, rather than lose out on a crucial order with American Airlines. That decision set in motion the flawed development of the 737 Max, which crashed twice in five months, killing 346 people. And while a number of factors contributed to those tragedies, they were ultimately the product of a corporate culture that cut corners in pursuit of short-term financial gains.

Even today Boeing is run by a Welch disciple. Dave Calhoun, the current C.E.O., was a dark horse candidate to succeed Mr. Welch in 2001, and he was on the Boeing board during the rollout of the Max and the botched response to the crashes.

When Mr. Calhoun took over the company in 2020, he set up his office not in Seattle (Boeing’s spiritual home) or Chicago (its official headquarters), but outside St. Louis at the Boeing Leadership Center, an internal training center explicitly built in the image of Crotonville. He said he hoped to channel Mr. Welch, whom he called his “forever mentor.”

The “Manager of the Century” was unbowed in retirement, barreling through the twilight of his life with the same bombast that defined his tenure as C.E.O.

He refashioned himself as a management guru and created a $50,000 online M.B.A. in an effort to instill his tough-nosed tactics in a new generation of business leaders. (The school boasts that “more than two out of three students receive a raise or promotion while enrolled.”) He cheered on the political rise of Mr. Trump, then advised him when he won the White House.

In his waning days, Mr. Welch emerged as a trafficker of conspiracy theories. He called climate change “mass neurosis” and “the attack on capitalism that socialism couldn’t bring.” He called for President Trump to appoint Rudy Giuliani attorney general and investigate his political enemies.

The most telling example of Mr. Welch’s foray into political commentary, and the beliefs it revealed, came in 2012. That’s when he took to Twitter and accused the Obama administration of fabricating the monthly jobs report numbers for political gain. The accusation was rich with irony. After decades during which G.E. massaged its own earnings reports, Mr. Welch was effectively accusing the White House of doing the same thing.

While Mr. Welch’s claim was baseless, conservative pundits picked up on the conspiracy theory and amplified it on cable news and Twitter. Even Mr. Trump, then merely a reality television star, joined the chorus, calling Mr. Welch’s bogus accusation “100 percent correct” and accusing the Obama administration of “monkeying around” with the numbers. It was one of the first lies to go viral on social media, and it had come from one of the most revered figures in the history of business.

When Mr. Welch died, few of his eulogists paused to consider the entirety of his legacy. They didn’t dwell on the downsizing, the manipulated earnings, the Twitter antics.

And there was no consideration of the ways in which the economy had been shaped by Mr. Welch over the previous 40 years, creating a world where manufacturing jobs have evaporated as C.E.O. pay soars, where buybacks and dividends are plentiful as corporate tax rates plunge.

By glossing over this reality, his allies helped perpetuate the myth of his sainthood, adding their own spin on one of the most enduring bits of disinformation of all: the notion that Jack Welch was the greatest C.E.O. of all time.

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Stocks Rally Out of Bear Market Territory, but End Lower for a 7th Week

Janet L. Yellen, the Treasury secretary, said high food and energy prices were creating “stagflationary effects” — the combination of high inflation and a stagnating economy. China’s economy, the world’s second-largest after that of the United States, is laboring under the government’s strict pandemic lockdowns. Before the war in Ukraine and Covid’s resurgence in China, the International Monetary Fund was projecting global growth of 4.4 percent this year. Now its forecast is 3.6 percent.

Wall Street had been expecting that torrid consumer demand would have to slow at some point. Government stimulus checks that provided Americans with billions in spending money during the pandemic stopped long ago. The hope of both the Trump and Biden administrations was that the economy could eventually be weaned off the stimulus and that consumer demand would stay relatively strong.

But inflation, which has risen faster and remained more persistent than many investors and even the Fed initially expected, has thrown the recovery into doubt.

Unemployment is approaching the lowest rate in decades, and the economy has regained nearly 95 percent of the 22 million jobs lost at the height of coronavirus lockdowns. Average hourly earnings in the U.S. rose 5.5 percent in the year through April, but many of those gains are being eroded by inflation. Over that same period, prices rose 8.3 percent.

“The government just turbocharged the economy, and we were partying on buying goods,” said Scott Mushkin, the founder of R5 Capital, a retail-focused consulting and financial research firm. “People wondered what the hangover would be like. We have never seen anything like this.”

To be sure, some retailers said that not every consumer was pulling back or shifting spending. Walmart said better-off shoppers continued to spend freely on bigger-ticket items like patio furniture, and Target said it was not seeing a broad retreat in spending, either. Home Depot, which has benefited from a pandemic remodeling boom, said it was seeing no big slowdown in business.

But Mr. Sole of UBS worries that if prices continue to climb, higher-income consumers will eventually shift their spending, too.

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At Wells Fargo, a Quest to Increase Diversity Leads to Fake Job Interviews

Joe Bruno, a former executive in the wealth management division of Wells Fargo, had long been troubled by the way his unit handled certain job interviews.

For many open positions, employees would interview a “diverse” candidate — the bank’s term for a woman or person of color — in keeping with the bank’s yearslong informal policy. But Mr. Bruno noticed that often, the so-called diverse candidate would be interviewed for a job that had already been promised to someone else.

He complained to his bosses. They dismissed his claims. Last August, Mr. Bruno, 58, was fired. In an interview, he said Wells Fargo retaliated against him for telling his superiors that the “fake interviews” were “inappropriate, morally wrong, ethically wrong.”

Wells Fargo said Mr. Bruno was dismissed for retaliating against a fellow employee.

Mr. Bruno is one of seven current and former Wells Fargo employees who said that they were instructed by their direct bosses or human resources managers in the bank’s wealth management unit to interview “diverse” candidates — even though the decision had already been made to give the job to another candidate. Five others said they were aware of the practice, or helped to arrange it.

damaged the bank’s reputation and led to more than $4.5 billion in fines.

qualified Black candidates. He later apologized for the comment when the memo became public in September.

Following Mr. Scharf’s directive, Wells Fargo adopted a formal policy in requiring that a diverse slate of candidates would have to be interviewed for all open jobs paying more than $100,000 a year.

That August, Wells Fargo paid nearly $8 million to settle a claim by the Department of Labor that it had discriminated against more than 30,000 Black job applicants for positions in banking, sales and support roles.

Wells Fargo had already been trying to increase diversity. In 2013, a group of Black financial advisers at Wells Fargo sued the bank for racial discrimination, saying they were corralled into poor neighborhoods and kept away from opportunities to win new clients and partner with white financial advisers.

The bank settled the case in 2017. Wells Fargo paid nearly $36 million to about 320 members of the class-action lawsuit, and pledged to “take actions designed to enhance opportunities for employment, earnings, and advancement of African American financial advisors and financial advisor trainees.”

sued by Black coaches, who claimed they were subject to “sham” interviews.

“Well-intentioned people created these initiatives, but when they hit the ground the energy was devoted not to implementing them but finding a way to get around them,” said Linda Friedman, the lawyer for the Black financial advisers involved in the 2017 Wells Fargo settlement.

Mr. Bruno joined Wells Fargo in 2000 and worked his way up to market leader for Wells Fargo Advisors in Jacksonville, Fla. He oversaw 14 branches of the bank’s wealth management operation. He saw himself as a champion of diversity.

Mr. Bruno was mainly responsible for filling two categories of jobs — financial advisers and financial consultants, who work alongside advisers. He said that he was often told to conduct interviews with Black candidates for the financial consultant positions, which were lower-paying jobs. In most such cases, Wells had no intention of hiring those people because either he or his superiors had already picked someone for the job, Mr. Bruno said.

Mr. Bruno said he eventually refused to conduct the interviews. “I got a Black person on the other side of the table who has no shot at getting the job,” he told his bosses.

Barry Sommers, the chief executive of Wells Fargo’s wealth and investment management business, said that fake interviews wouldn’t even have been necessary for the financial consultant positions that Mr. Bruno was hiring for. Their salaries, Mr. Sommers said, fell below the $100,000 threshold that required a diverse slate of candidates to be interviewed per Wells Fargo’s 2020 policy.

“There is absolutely no reason why anyone would conduct a fake interview,” Mr. Sommers said. Rather than tracking the identities of interviewees, the bank focused on the results, and “the numbers are getting better,” he said.

Of the nearly 26,000 people the bank hired in 2020, 77 percent were not white men, Ms. Burton said. And last year, 81 percent of the 30,000 people hired were not white men, she said. She declined to specify how many of those new hires were for jobs above the $100,000 salary threshold.

But six current and former Wells Fargo employees, including Mr. Bruno, said that fake interviews were conducted for many types of positions. Three current employees said they conducted fake job interviews or knew of them as recently as this year.

In 2018, Tony Thorpe was a senior manager for Wells Fargo Advisors in Nashville, overseeing 60 advisers. Mr. Thorpe said his boss and the human resources manager overseeing his area both told him that if he found a financial adviser worth recruiting, and that adviser wanted to bring a sales assistant along, it was permissible — but the assistant’s job had to be posted publicly.

Mr. Thorpe, who retired from Wells Fargo in 2019, said he was instructed to reach out to colleges and business associations in the area where he could meet nonwhite candidates for the assistant job. Mr. Thorpe said he never conducted a fake interview, but was required to document that he had tried to find a “diverse pool” of candidates, even though he knew exactly who would be getting the job.

“You did have to tell the story, send an email verifying what you’ve done,” Mr. Thorpe said. “You just had to show that you were trying.”

Ms. Burton said that she couldn’t speak to practices under Wells Fargo’s prior management, but that the bank kept records of every job interview. The record-keeping is necessary because the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the nation’s top banking regulator, conducts periodic audits. While the O.C.C. doesn’t impose its own diversity standards for banks, it does check to make sure they’re following state and federal laws, including anti-discrimination laws.

Don Banks, 31, a Black wealth manager living in Monroe, La., was contacted by Wells Fargo twice before he was hired. In 2016 and 2017, a human resources representative from the bank told Mr. Banks that he had advanced past an initial interview round for a financial adviser trainee position and would be getting a call from a manager. Both times, no one called.

Mr. Banks had been submitted to fake interviews, according to a former employee who was a manager in the area where Mr. Banks had applied, and who participated in the hiring process involving Mr. Banks’s application. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he still works in the industry.

Mr. Banks was eventually hired in 2018 by Wells Fargo in a more junior position. Two years later, he was laid off during cutbacks in the pandemic.

“It doesn’t sound like a great experience,” Mr. Sommers, the wealth management chief executive, said. “It shouldn’t have happened that way.”

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