I am writing this blog to dispel any public relations talking points by the Wells Fargo CEO, John Stumpf, along the lines that he is taking full responsibility for the scandal by which employees opened new customer bank accounts on a wide spread basis without the clients’ prior knowledge or approval. There is the attempt for the management to look as if they are taking corrective steps by the firing of numerous employees caught in the practice of these fraudulent activities. The problem is that this has been their modus operandi for years. Their acting before the 9/ 20/16 U.S. congressional hearings was a total sham. I can prove this by demonstrating their pattern of dealing with scandal by the following 2013 report.
The Source of the following material is from: The 12/23/2013 Consumerist blog by Chris Morran:
“A few months back, we told you about the 30 Los Angeles-area Wells Fargo employees who became former Wells Fargo employees when it was discovered they were opening bogus accounts to meet the bank’s demanding sales goals. According to a new investigative report on the megabank, Wells workers around the country are feeling pressured into behaving unethically just to avoid being fired.”
“We were constantly told we would end up working for McDonald’s,” one former branch manager from Florida tells the L.A. Times. “If we did not make the sales quotas … we had to stay for what felt like after-school detention, or report to a call session on Saturdays.”
“She says she resigned in 2010 rather than deal with the required hourly sales updates from regional managers, and the dangling threat of termination for those employees who failed to meet quotas.”
“Wells Fargo averages more than 6 financial products per household — several times the national average (3) — but even that isn’t enough, with bank brass reportedly urging employees to shoot for the “Great 8,” meaning that each household would have bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and just about anything else you could get from a Wells Fargo branch.”
“To some, that pressure and the dread of losing their jobs led them to make bad, and sometimes illegal decisions. In addition to opening up duplicate accounts, one of the 30 Wells employees dismissed in October tells the Times that people at the bank used a company database to identify customers to pre-order credit cards for customers who had been pre-approved.
“They’d just tell the customers: ‘You’re getting a credit card,’” explains the former employee, who said that when customers would complain about the unasked-for cards, a manager would just chalk it up to a computer glitch.”
“Another former branch manager tells the Times she learned that some of her employees had talked a homeless woman into opening six different accounts, all just to meet quotas, when the woman only needed a single account in order to get her Social Security benefits direct-deposited.”
“It’s all manipulation. We are taught exactly how to sell multiple accounts,” says the former manager, who helped the customer close all her unnecessary accounts. “It sounds good, but in reality it doesn’t benefit most customers.”
“About the pressure from Wells HQ, she adds, “If you do not make your goal, you are severely chastised and embarrassed in front of 60-plus managers in your area by the community banking president.”
“For its part, Wells maintains that it does have a focus on selling products to customers but disagrees with the notion of a boiler-room sales culture.
“This is something we take very seriously,” a rep for the bank tells the Times. “When we find lapses, we do something about it, including firing people.”
“He also points out that most employees receive relatively little of their pay from bonuses, with only around 3% of tellers’ annual pay tied to sales goals.”
“But that may be a short-sighted viewpoint, as it assumes that these bad employees are behaving unethically out of greed.”
“If I work at a store and my boss tells me I need to sell $500 worth of widgets each day or I’m fired, it makes no difference to me whether I earn commission on those widgets. By telling an employee that his or her job is on the line, a boss is letting it be known that 100% of that employee’s wages are on the line, not just the small percentage tied to sales goals.”
The following are excerpts from a blog I posted on 2/10/15, NUTTY CONSUMER’S 7TH RANT AGAINST “COOKIE CUTTER” CALL CENTERS:
How could agents not suffer some anguish if they felt required to compromise their moral values in order to keep their job? How would anyone not be uncomfortable by finding themselves being placed in a position as at Wells Fargo by which you are directed to sell hard on each and every incoming call no matter what the customers’ circumstances.
You could ask why doesn’t the agent protest to management. As one agent advised me, it is management who are enforcing these standards. If you are perceived as not being a team member, your life will be made very unpleasant. You will be marginalized with a reputation for being a difficult or disgruntled employee; someone who is unstable as well as not being a team player.
An agent from a well established company described to me what typically occurs when an employee dares to challenge the status quo. The offending agent could be subject to excessive monitoring with supervisors listening in at random and excessive surveillance. As time passes the agent will experience extreme discomfort and will eventually leave…(told by an employee)… She had been subject for weeks to a frequently deployed tactic by call center management of excessive surveillance and constant monitoring. This includes the supervisors listening and recording many calls for hours and at random times with the intent to catch the employee making an error. Then the employee is frequently confronted with all their errors, written notices, increased coaching sessions with the employee’s full knowledge that they are helpless, and even if they get that they are being treated unfairly and unjustly, they have no legitimate, reliable and effective recourse for relief. This is just for starters!
These tactics are also used to set up an employee to be fired. If companies believe that this pattern of subjecting offending employees to these bullying and mental harassment tactics designed to separate out an agent, is a way to avoid legal repercussions, please reconsider this stance. Currently, these systemic practices may not be sufficient for claimants to legally prevail on the basis of the companies’ managers, intentionally “inflicting extreme emotional distress” on any particular employee. However, as per an article in the Insurance Journal, published 3/4/2013, titled “Workplace Bullying Emerging As Major Employment Liability Battleground “by Sam Hananel, “more than a dozen states — including New York and Massachusetts — have considered anti-bullying laws in the past year that would allow litigants to pursue lost wages, benefits and medical expenses and compel employers to prevent an “abusive work place.”