There are several investigations that are now ongoing regarding the financial dealings of Wells Fargo. It is important to trace back how long these bogus accounts were being created by employees under intense pressure to meet sales goals. Based on my research, I am comfortable in stating that this practice dates back to at least 2004.
Those auditing Wells Fargo’s documents need to be careful as to what weight they give to which data. For instance, customer satisfaction or loyalty survey results can be manipulated manually by employees. The focus should be on the actual customer retention rates and how many tenured clients(5 plus years) have reduced their number of Wells Fargo’s products from their portfolio. While I was able to find several articles about Wells Fargo’s customer retention strategies, I could not find actual figures about its customer retention rates.The same is true of employee satisfaction survey results. The true picture will be reflected in the employee attrition rate which is a much higher rate than their competitors. Glassdoor.com estimates Wells Fargo’s employee tutnover rate as being as high as 90%. Auditors will also want to check on the number of unplanned absentee days per employee. Going back to 2004-2006, I would collect data as to how many and for how long employees have been on disability/ medical leave due to mental health issues resulting from work stress.
I would want a list of employees who have called the Wells Fargo’s ethics hot line from 2004-2016 to report fraud. Then I would follow up as to how many of those workers are still employed by Wells Fargo. This will paint the true picture of the company’s culture.
I would review the top executives annual performance objectives to see how far back that the increase or the expansion of cross selling ratios is listed as a major strategic goal.
I would want the copies of all company videos (2006-2016) of major meetings being headed by John Stumpf with employees present.
On the 10/24/12 Banktech.com blog,”USAA, ING Direct, PNC Leaders in Customer Retention by Bryan Yurcan, the report states the following:
“When it comes to sales, Forrester found that the top driver for purchase intent is the perception of the bank being trustworthy; charging low or no fees and having good customer service closely follow. Perceptions of product and channel-based offerings — like having many locations, having a good APR, and offering a variety of products — positively influence consumers’ choice of bank for future purchases but trail behind trustworthiness, charging low fees, and having good customer service.”
“Regarding customer retention, The most important attribute that keeps customers loyal is the perception of being trustworthy, the report found. Being perceived as trustworthy has almost twice the impact on likelihood to not switch banks as having good customer service, the second most influential driver.”
“According to the report, USAA, ING Direct and PNC were the leaders in being perceived as trustworthy and having good customer service by existing customers, which led to those banks topping the customer retention list. Citi and Bank of America had the highest percentage of their customers likely to switch providers — 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively, compared with just 1 percent of USAA customers and 2 percent of ING Direct.”
The 9/29/16 USA Today article by Matt Kranz reports the following about today’s Wells Fargo’s congressional hearing:
• Claims that Wells Fargo is “too large to manage” and should be broken up.Lawmakers discussed dismay that an alleged scam involving more than 5,000 employees accounts for just 2% of Wells Fargo’s workforce. “Can you really know what is going on at this bank?” said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who declared that she would move forward to break up Wells Fargo, which is based in California.
• Calls for Stumpf’s resignation. Stumpf, who has been CEO since June 2007, was challenged to step down by several lawmakers. “I don’t personally see how you survive” as CEO, said Rep. Dennis Heck, D-Wash. Heck questioned how the board couldn’t see Stumpf is “no longer the correct” person to lead the company. Several lawmakers also questioned how Stumpf also serves as the chairman of the board in addition to being CEO.
Warnings that criminal charges should be examined. Several members of Congress stressed that Wells Fargo customers were stolen from and suggested criminal charges should be considered. Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., asked Stumpf how the actions of executives are any different than a bank robber who didn’t use a firearm and said he was sorry afterward. “Why shouldn’t you be in jail?” Capuano asked.
Calls for more banks to be investigated. Stumpf was asked by Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, whether other banks use aggressive sales tactics to urge employees to open accounts for existing customers, which Stumpf said he did not know. Green and several other lawmakers expressed interest in bringing in executives at other banks to see if sales practices potentially leading to fraud might be occurring at other bank.
• Questions over Stumpf’s financial gains during the alleged fraud. Several lawmakers pointed out that while Stumpf agreed to a clawback, he has still personally profited during that time. Specifically, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., called him out for a $13 million sale of Wells Fargo stock in 2013 around the time the fraud became more clear.
• Disputes claims the fraud wasn’t big enough to be material. Lawmakers blasted suggestions that because the wrongdoing affected a small percentage of accounts it wasn’t material. More than $24 billion in market value has been shaved off Wells Fargo since the scandal broke, said S&P Global Market Intelligence. That’s more than half the value of all of Ford at $48.9 billion, said Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn.
Today, a Bloomberg’s article by Jesse Hamilton and Tom Schoenberg, reports that the Justice Department announced (9/29/16) that it is also imposing a $4 million dollar penalty for Wells Fargo repossessing Service members cars in violation of the Service Members Civil Relief Act. The authors wrote. ““Wells Fargo Bank unlawfully repossessed hundreds of service members’ cars without the proper process, and the bank will now rightfully pay for its violations,” Bill Baer, the Justice Department’s No. 3 official, said in a statement. The department “is committed to protecting our country’s service members as they continue to fight for our freedom.” (As per a 2/9/15 justice.gov report Wells Fargo was also fined for foreclosing on mortgages owed by our military while they were overseas defending our country. Here is an excerpt: “In the first round of payments under the SCRA (Service members Civil Relief Act) portion of the 2012 settlement known as the National Mortgage Settlement (NMS), 666 service members and their co-borrowers will receive over $88 million from JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi and GMAC Mortgage.” )