Wells Fargo: Bogus Accounts, Real Fees
Founded in 1852, Wells Fargo is America’s biggest bank in terms of market capitalization. The brand name evokes an era when its stagecoaches carried gold across the United States at record speeds.
The values Wells Fargo adheres to, its corporate ethics, are clearly expressed on its website in words such as trust, integrity and honesty.
The Failure :
In an effort to hit management sales targets from 2011 to 2016, Wells Fargo opened 1.5 million unauthorized bank accounts and issued 550,000 credit cards to clients without their knowledge. It also created fake electronic addresses and phony PINs to sign them up to online services for which fees were collected. The company then accused its employees of fraud, firing 5,000 of them. Even the president, John Stumpf, was forced out.
Last September, Wells Fargo was finally ordered to pay a $185 million fine to the CFPB, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, for illicit trading practices.
In today’s highly-connected world, it’s becoming harder and harder to get away with lying, and with the growing erosion of consumer trust in big business, there are sure to be some great opportunities out there for startups that truly believe in the importance of giving their customers good service and respect. It’s up to us consumers to “vote with our wallets”.
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