Follow up: Disbursement kicks off, Wells Fargo representatives nowhere to be found

By: Jonathan Baca, Senior Staff Reporter

Spring disburse¬ment went smoothly on Main Campus with the noted absence of Wells Fargo bankers aggressively reminding students to cash their checks at the nearest Wells Fargo branch.
There were booths set up by Wells Fargo and Bank of Albuquerque on Main Campus, but their workers were told not to approach stu¬dents, said Director of Marketing and Commu n i c a t i o n s Brad Moore.
“They know they are supposed to let students come to them. If they do get more aggressive, security will remind them,” said Moore.
Students compared the absence of the Wells Fargo bankers this term as opposed to the fall semester.
“I do remember getting approached by them last time. It was uncomfortable that right after I get handed all this money, some guy comes up to me and tells me what to do with it,” said Nursing Major Elizabeth Brooklyn.
In Volume 18 Issue 9, ”Joint Account: Students Complain of Bankers on Campus,” The Chronicle reported complaints of Wells Fargo employ¬ees approaching stu¬dents immediately after receiving their financial aid checks and advertising their bank’s services.
In the article, administration told The Chronicle that they were aware that the bank representatives would be on campus, and administration said they felt that Wells Fargo was providing students a useful ser¬vice by offering to cash students’ disbursement checks for free.
Many students reported feeling harassed by the bank representatives.
Apart from Wells Fargo employees, students also com¬plained in the article that school employ¬ees handing out the checks also suggested that students take their checks to Wells Fargo.
Moore said the arrangement with Wells Fargo to cash disbursement checks for free is still in effect this semester.
The employees handing out checks did not mention this to students this time term, said students. Moore said he was unaware of any change in protocol.
“As far as I know there was no conscious decision to change the way they do it,” said Moore.
Several students also complained in the previous article that they were not allowed to cash their checks until they were sub¬jected to what they described as a high pressure sales pitch to open accounts and credit cards with Wells Fargo.
President Kathie Winograd said she did not condone the behavior and would speak to Wells Fargo representatives about these practices.
Moore said he was unaware of any such follow-up that admin¬istration could do.
“We wouldn’t really have any control over what they do there anyway,” said Moore.
Students also reported that this semester the handling of disbursement checks was quick and efficient.
“The way they have the lines set up, with lines split into last names, it was really quick. I only stood in line a couple minutes,” said Welding Major Pete Gallegos.
With more than $25 million awarded and 7,000 checks handed out in one day on all campuses, dis-bursement is a com¬plex logistical chal¬lenge and takes serious planning, said Bursar Christine Duncan.
“It takes us a week to get ready. Financial Aid feeds over their files, and then we take out anything that stu¬dents owe to CNM, bookstore charges and tuition, and then we produce a net check for them,” said Duncan.
The process is a partnership between the Financial Aid, Cashiers and Accounts Payable offices, and is a team effort in every aspect, with employ¬ees from all three offices volunteering to actually hand out the checks to students, said Duncan.
“I’m glad to hear that students felt we did a good job. That is always our goal,” said Moore.

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