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Los Angeles Times: Wells Fargo's Pressure-Cooker Sales Culture Comes at a Cost

Author: E. Scott Reckard
December 23, 2013

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"To meet quotas, employees have opened unneeded accounts for customers, ordered credit cards without customers' permission and forged client signatures on paperwork. Some employees begged family members to open ghost accounts."

Wells Fargo branch manager Rita Murillo came to dread the phone calls.

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.

"We were constantly told we would end up working for McDonald's," said Murillo, who later resigned. "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."

Wells Fargo & Co. is the nation's leader in selling add-on services to its customers. The giant San Francisco bank brags in earnings reports of its prowess in "cross-selling" financial products such as checking and savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages and wealth management. In addition to generating fees and profits, those services keep customers tied to the bank and less likely to jump to competitors.

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