Wall Street Journal: How Wells Fargo’s High-Pressure Sales Culture Spiraled Out of Control
They say many branch managers routinely monitored employees’ progress toward meeting sales goals, sometimes hourly, and sales numbers at the branch level were reported to higher-ranking managers as many as seven times a day. Tension about how to meet the sales targets was common.
“If somebody said: ‘This doesn’t make sense. Where are you getting these sales goals?’ then [the response] was: ‘No, you can do it’ or ‘You’re negative’ or ‘Oh, you’re not a team player,’” says Ruth Landaverde, a former Wells Fargo credit manager in Palmdale, Calif.
She says she often got the same response whenever she said a customer didn’t need another credit card. “The answer was: ‘Yes, they do,’” she says. She quit after being warned she wasn’t reaching her sales goals, she says.
Employees at a Wells Fargo branch in Lincoln, Neb., had a daily goal to open two new checking accounts and make eight other product sales, says Steven Schrodt, who worked there from 2010 to 2012.
Managers asked employees who had fallen short of the targets if they could open accounts for their mother, siblings or friends, according to Mr. Schrodt and other former employees. He says he opened about 15 accounts for friends and family members. Mr. Schrodt says he decided to leave Wells Fargo because the sales pressure was too stressful. He is now in law school.
John Stumpf: The Vision and Values of Wells Fargo
Our progress has not been perfect. The expectations of others, and the even higher expectations we have of ourselves, have not always been met. When we make mistakes, we admit them, we learn from them, and we keep moving forward with even more understanding and a deeper commitment to doing what’s right.
We first published a Vision & Values booklet in the early 1990s as Wells Fargo’s predecessor, Norwest Corporation. Since then, we’ve grown from a small regional bank into a national company with a growing global presence.
Today, many of our team members trace their heritage to legacy companies that are now part of the Wells Fargo brand. Each of these companies brought with it new geographies, new capabilities, and inspiring stories. All have found a common cause in adopting our vision and values.
We believe in our vision and values just as strongly today as we did the first time we put them on paper, and staying true to them will guide us toward continued growth and success for decades to come.
As you read more about our vision and values, you will learn about who we are, where we’re headed, and how every Wells Fargo team member can help us get there. We’ve become one of the nation’s largest financial institutions, serving one in three U.S. households and employing approximately one in 600 working Americans.
We have team members in 36 countries, serving 70 million customers in more than 130 countries around the world. Forbes magazine ranks us among the top 10 publicly traded companies in the world based on a composite of sales, assets, profits, and market value. And we are consistently ranked as one of the world’s most respected banks by Barron’s magazine and one of the world’s most admired companies by Fortune magazine.
The reason for this is simple. We’ve never lost sight of putting our customers first and helping them succeed financially. Regardless of our growing size, scope, and reach, our common vision and distinct values form the fabric that holds us together wherever we are, whatever we do. As members of the same team, it doesn’t matter what our respective responsibilities are, our levels or titles, what businesses we’re part of, or where we live and work.Comments:
- I am both a retiree from Wells Fargo (21 years) and
- I am a happy customer for 20 years
- I have personally never witnessed a violation of Well Fargo's Vision and Values but I was in IT for my entire time.
- I do have a close family member who quit as a Wells Fargo teller because he felt undue pressure to sell products
- In my time as a customer, they have never pushed a product on us.
- I believe that the nefarious activities have been relatively rare. But in a large company the numbers are likewise large: 1.5 M accounts and .5 M CC accounts. The number of fired employees is likewise large, 5,300! But that was over 5 years and with 300,000 employees the number is statistically small.
- Nevertheless the scandal is real.
- With any organization, whether a church, government, or business, there will be bad apples
- Upper management must more deeply impress the Vision and Values to the lowest levels and ensure that sales goals do not force this disconnect.