Wow! This is amazing: Wells Fargo just disclosed that it fired 5,300 employees for opening fake accounts.
On Thursday, federal regulators said Wells Fargo employees secretly created millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts — without their customers knowing it — since 2011.
The phony accounts earned the bank unwarranted fees and allowed Wells Fargo employees to boost their sales figures and make more money.
…Wells Fargo confirmed to CNNMoney that it had fired 5,300 employees over the last few years related to the shady behavior. Employees went to far as to create phony PIN numbers and fake email addresses to enroll customers in online banking services, the CFPB said.
Not only are Wells employees actively helping customers to game the Wells system, they are the instigators!
This sheds some light on the PFD household’s recent experience with Wells. I don’t want to go into details because I don’t want to get any employees into trouble, plus it’s not a particularly interesting story, but in a nutshell the front-line workers are very flexible–proactive, you could say–about waiving fees on accounts, as long as you let them open the accounts for you.
That piece, called “Keep your eye on Wells Fargo,” was in response to this LA Times story about the boiler room sales atmosphere at WFC:
Regional bosses required hourly conferences on her Florida branch’s progress toward daily quotas for opening accounts and selling customers extras such as overdraft protection. Employees who lagged behind had to stay late and work weekends to meet goals, Murillo said.
Then came the threats: Anyone falling short after two months would be fired.
It’s a constant source of surprise to many, but people respond to incentives. If the rewards and/or the punishment are sufficiently large, people will do anything. Like weird tricks for their pension, or opening fake accounts for their customers, or even buying a bunch of prepaid debit cards and then hanging out at Wal-Mart for a while.
Want to see something funny? Check out the Wells Fargo “Visions and Values” page:
An outcome of offering customers the products and services they need, want, and value is that we earn more opportunities to serve customers, or what we call cross-sell. Cross-sell is the result of serving our customers extraordinarily well, understanding their financial needs and goals over their lifetimes, and ensuring we innovate our products, services, and channels so that we earn more of their business and help them succeed financially. We succeed when our customers succeed.
The funny thing is that they’ve actually toned down the cross-selling language. Back in 2014 the same page read:
The core of our vision-based strategy is “cross-selling”— the process of offering customers the products and services they need, when they need them, to help them succeed financially.
It’s a real corporatespeak gem (what the hell is a “vision-based strategy”?), but back then they were up front (well, sort of) about being all cross-selling, all the time. Now, not so much. Maybe the execs have learned a lesson… though I’d wager that those responsible for setting unreasonable targets all got to keep their bonuses and did not get fired, in which case the lesson learned is “let’s try this again!”