Don’t penalize all for a few’s misdeeds

Never let a good crisis go to waste. The big-government crowd operates by that rule, using it as frequently as possible to expand its intrusiveness into our lives.

Some community bankers – the people we deal with for car loans, mortgages, checking accounts and any number of other financial services – worry the Wells Fargo scandal may give Washington another excuse.

Indeed, what happened at Wells Fargo was enormous in scope and disturbing in sheer callousness. Regulatory agencies say employees of the company opened as many as two million credit card and deposit accounts for people who never asked for them. It is virtually impossible to say how much profit Wells Fargo raked in from those involuntary customers.

The bank’s officials fired thousands of employees over the wrongdoing. Wells Fargo itself may have to pay $185 million in fines.

That will be of little deterrent value, of course. Big financial institutions such as Wells Fargo deal in tens, even hundreds of billions of dollars.

But the situation gives financial regulators and their liberal cronies in Congress a new excuse to call for stiffer rules on banks and similar institutions. As so often is the case, the bureaucrats and lawmakers want to cast a wide net.

It could force costly new burdens on community bankers who were not part of the problem. That would increase costs for such institutions’ customers and make it more cumbersome for them to obtain services.

Responsible, thoughtful members of Congress should not allow it. Small community bankers and their customers should not have to pay for the misdeeds of giants such as Wells Fargo.