Wells Fargo Fake Accounts Scandal and Employee Ambition

It has recently been uncovered that Wells Fargo, the American international bank, had created both bank and credit card accounts in the names of their customers without those respective customer’s consent.

These customers were then charged for these unauthorized accounts and forced to pay Wells Fargo. Accusations of Wells Fargo misinforming and pushing accounts onto customers had also been very frequent which eventually led to the Customer Financial Protection Bureau charging them close to 200 million dollars in fines.

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Former CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumph

Why would employees do that to their customers? That is the question many people are asking themselves, and the reason behind it is simple: for the sake of money. Banks are businesses, it is through deposits, loans, credit, savings and check
ing accounts that they make money from their money. And this occasion was no stranger as the CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf, had put it: eight is great, which meant that employees were expected to open eight new accounts every single day and were forced to do so by their managers which was then raised to twenty accounts a day. Not only does this sound ludicrous but also like a huge amount of pressure on Wells Fargo’s employees as they were highly scrutinized and often warned by their managers that if they didn’t reach their daily goal they would be fired with a bad record.

These employees’ ambition of working at a great bank and getting well paid soon became a crippling sequence of sleepless nights and a struggle for survival at the company. That’s where all the fake accounts came into play. Just over 2 million accounts were created where employees would “dial for dollars”, meaning they would call their relatives, call hundreds of people a day and push people in order to keep their jobs. Those who couldn’t handle the pressure eventually quit, leaving their ambition and eagerness behind them with the job.

Ambition is defined as a strong desire to do or achieve something and as many of Wells Fargo’s employees had just graduated from university and college the eagerness was all there. The company was one of the more successful banks back in 2009 and its CEO, John Stumpf, intended on keeping it that way at that any cost.

This obviously was not sustainable in the long run and in 2013 after several complaints of many employees, Wells Fargo was visited by the CFPB (the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). It was revealed that a whopping 5 000 had been fired during the creation of the fake accounts! Not only does this show much responsibility employers have to ensure good working conditions for its employees but also how easy it is for a bad employer or a bad job to ruin a keen employees ambition and career.

The good news though is that
the aggressive sales system ended with Stumpfs “early retirement” which was welcomed by the board of Wells Fargo. And what’s more is that the new CEO, Tim Sloan, has promised to rehire all the employees that were “inappropriately” fired during that period of time. Personally I believe that the most important lesson to take from this scandal is to make sure you know who you are going to work for before you accept the job because you ambitions should be yous and not those of a desperate CEO who would to anything for money.

Tim Sloan, CEO of Wells Fargo since Octo- ber 2016
Tim Sloan, CEO of Wells Fargo since Octo- ber 2016
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