Yesterday afternoon, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf announced his sudden “retirement” from the bank that continues to deal with the fallout of a fake account fiasco that saw thousands of Wells employees opening up millions of bogus, unauthorized accounts just to meet high-pressure sales goals and quotas. However, the Wells exec who has stepped into the CEO spot has a history of denying that any such atmosphere existed at the bank.
Fortune.com dredged up some things that new CEO Tim Sloan said in the years and months leading up to the Sept. 2016 $185 million settlement over the fake accounts, and the exec has repeatedly shaken off allegations that the bank’s policies inadvertently encouraged employees to use fake accounts to game the system.
While there are now indications that this chicanery might go back a decade or more, the fake accounts were first spotlighted in 2013, when the L.A. Times confirmed that some bank employees had been fired for opening up fake accounts to meet sales goals.
It’s around this time that Stumpf claims he first learned of the problem, though nothing was done to pull the plug on the questionable quotas believed to be the root cause of the bad behavior.
Forbes notes that in Dec. 2013, then-Chief Financial Officer Sloan told the Times, “I’m not aware of any overbearing sales culture.”
As the scrutiny over the fiasco grew, Sloan was promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer at Wells. He was the one who gave Carrie Tolstedt — the head of the bank’s retail division — that she would be “retiring” this past summer. But through it all, he maintained that Wells Fargo’s practice of constantly pushing employees to upsell and cross-sell financial products was not going to change.
“Because when you think of our vision, it’s to satisfy our customers’ financial needs, and to help them succeed financially,” he explained to American Banker in a June 2016 interview, adding that the “fundamental strategy that we have is not going to change.”
by Chris Morran via Consumerist