Someone Explain To Me, Please, Why Anyone Should Trust Wells Fargo With Their Money Ever Again?

Federal regulators announced today that  Wells Fargo employees secretly created millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts without their customers requesting them or being informed, knowing since 2011.  Employees even created phony PIN numbers and fake email addresses to enroll customers in online banking services, the CFPB said.The stealth accounts allowed the bank to charge millions in illicit fees,  while Wells Fargo employees boosted their sales figures and earned bonuses. Wells Fargo told CNNMoney that it had fired a staggering 5,300 employees over the last few years as they discovered the misconduct—but they didn’t tell customers what had been going on. .An investigation revealed that bank employees opened over 1.5 million unauthorized deposit accounts.

The scamster employees moved funds from customers’ legitimate accounts into newly-created ones without their knowledge or consent, regulators say. Then the victims were  charged for insufficient funds or overdraft fees when  there wasn’t enough money in their original accounts. Wells Fargo hustlers also submitted applications for 565,443 credit card accounts without their customers’ consent.

In response, the feds have hit Wells Fargo with the largest penalty since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began was founded in 201, ironically right around the timeWells Fargo started cheating its customer.. The bank agreed to pay $185 million in fines, along with $5 million to refund customers.

I don’t care how much the bank pays, or even if I get some of it (The Marshalls banked there, but as soon as I get home, that’s going to end.) I don’t care of I have to keep the nest egg in an old sock. I’m not trusting these people. The managers are inept or corrupt, and the lower employees are poorly trained and supervised, as well as crooks. This is a bank. The management has high fiduciary duties. It breached all of them.

Wells Fargo can’t be trusted no matter how many employees it fires, and how much it pays in fines. You are a complete fool if you don’t pull your investments and savings out of such a bank, that betrayed its customers for five years with incompetent hiring, management and oversight. You are a fool if you open an account. Wells Fargo cannot and must not be trusted. Put it out of business. Send a message to the industry. There are other banks, and there must be some that won’t allow their employees to open up fake accounts in your name.

Want to see smoking gun proof of how untrustworthy this crew is? Here’s the statement it issued today. Read it and retch:

“We regret and take responsibility for any instances where customers may have received a product that they did not request.”

Do you like that? Oh, they GAVE customers a service they didn’t request! You know, like sending a pizza to the wrong house.The customers benefited! They got something extra!

How dare they.

This statement proves that the bank is incompetent, dishonest, and shameless. Wells Fargo didn’t send customers bonus products, it used fake products to rob its own customers, and doesn’t have the integrity to be straightforward, instead choosing to spin. Customers didn’t receive anything from the bank, the bank took fees from them.

Damn them. I see that David Vladeck, a Georgetown University law professor and a former director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, has the same reaction that I do, saying…

“One wonders whether the penalty of $100 million is enough.It sounds like a big number, but for a bank the size of Wells Fargo, it isn’t really….How does a bank that is supposed to have robust internal controls permit the creation of over a half-million dummy accounts?” asked Vladeck. “If I were a Wells Fargo customer, and fortunately I am not, I’d think seriously about finding a new bank.”

Exactly. But don’t just think about it. Do it. Don’t be a patsy. Customers have to show that they will not tolerate being treated this way.

And I hope the Meridith Willson estate sues Wells Fargo for making “The Music Man’s” first act finale nauseating forever more.

As if Ron Howard’s off-key singing wasn’t bad enough.

 

26 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Finance, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement

26 responses to “Someone Explain To Me, Please, Why Anyone Should Trust Wells Fargo With Their Money Ever Again?

  1. zoebrain

    “There are other banks, and there must be some that won’t allow their employees to open up fake accounts in your name.”

    Supposition.

    • crella

      It may only be the tip of the iceberg…there were questions about my father’s IRA account after my mother died, and when we went to the bank ( not Wells Fargo) they told us that they had lost the last paperwork she signed. It boggles my mind that a financial institution can just lose documents which were only signed three years previously. That and a couple other snafus we’ve experienced with two other banks leads me to think that there’s a lot going on out there unsupervised/unverified. The Wells Fargo revelations are the worst I’ve ever heard, though.

  2. Well crap. Some of my business accounts are there and my husband’s personal account. Our business credit card processing goes through WF, what a pain in the butt to get THAT changed! You know what is really crazy? This is the first I have heard of this. No notice from WF, nothing that I caught on the news or even social media…WTF?!?!

    I bank at Chase, formerly Washington Mutual, formerly Great Western, which I fled to after Security Pacific was taken over by Bank of America…. I really hate that. I do have a few accounts with Navy Federal and I like them a lot, just wish they had a local branch.

    Sigh….gee thanks, Jack!

  3. Small town Wyoming doesn’t have all that many choices for banking, but Wells Fargo just lost another customer.
    We’ll have to change two personal accounts. Two credit cards, and a loan. This will not be fun.
    Makes me wonder how many people will actually go through the pain. Changing where you do your banking is difficult and time consuming. They should have to pay for any losses people incur when they try to unravel themselves from the bank’s tentacles.
    A lesson in eggs and baskets.

  4. fattymoon

    I picketed Wells Fargo a few years back as part of Occupy. Why? “In 2012, the bank paid a $175 million settlement following revelations that “mortgage brokers working with Wells Fargo had charged higher fees and rates to more than 30,000 minority borrowers across the country than they had to white borrowers who posed the same credit risk.” http://www.alternet.org/economy/whats-wrong-wells-fargo

    Let’s all go see Hell or High Water this weekend. https://youtu.be/Uzw4wkHtEt4

  5. Rick M.

    Ah…WFC! One of my portfolio’s better investments. They are, however, that notorious evil that the progressives speak of: “Big Banks.” Evil incarnate, no doubt.

    Like most savvy shoppers I have my billions in a small local credit union. Have done that for over 30 years and the service is rather personal. The bank president drives a Kia Sould so I doubt he is making millions with my billions.

    The smart shopper finds a financial institution that is local and you will be just fine.

  6. Spartan

    “The Marshall banked there, but as soon as I get home, that’s going to end.”

    While I suspect this is a typo, I secretly hope that you have decided to refer to yourself as “The Marshall” for now on. Because that would be awesome.

  7. Becky

    Now what do we do about our mortgage? Oddly enough, they have held our last few and NOT sold them. Wonder why… Guess I should just count us lucky for never having anything weird happen. No extra fees.

  8. Spartan

    Incentive programs are dangerous. I’ve had a variety of them for my entire career. I remember one quarter where instead of overall revenue, my bonus would be based on number of overall new clients. Under that incentive plan, that client could have billed $1, instead of the usual tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands that each matter typically entailed. At the end of the quarter, I was one new client away from receiving a huge bonus. While I ended up earning it honestly, I remember thinking how easy it would be for someone (who is unethical) in my position to game the system. I could have called up any one of dozens of friends and asked them to become a new “client” with a $100 matter if needed — which of course I never would have done.

    I wonder if someone at my old company did game the system that quarter too, because each bonus program after that involved some flavor of overall revenue.

  9. Slick Willy

    Dealt with Wells Fargo during my mother’s cancer fight and on her passing. Every document, every statement, every transaction at the teller was… off. I could not define why I was uneasy with my widow mother’s money in that institution, but I was. The minute she passed I withdrew all but $2 from her (insignificant) account and cut off all dealings with them. Come to think of it, never closed her account there, either… they can keep the $2 🙂

    Later I heard Dave Ramsey talking about the unethical practices of banks, and Wells Fargo in particular. Confirmed my bias, at least.

    I have dealt with Chase, Washington Mutual, Compass and BoA. They all seemed intent on setting up the rules to screw the customer. (As a Business Analyst and Project Manager, I tend to read contracts before I sign them, and have refused products over unacceptable clauses before. Politely walking out dumbfounds bankers)

    I now use a regional credit union, and am usually happy with the ‘quasi’ personal service, products, and fair treatment. Their small print is simple, sane and fair minded.

    IMHO, big banks are for the lazy or inattentive, given their rules and restrictions. There is no reason to deal with them if you are given a choice in your community.

    • Rich in CT

      I had a Bank of America debit card that I immediately cancelled when the announced a $5 “maintenance” fee to for the card itself (on top of the potential fees for the checking account itself).

      I have a local bank, (Liberty Bank for anyone in Connecticut), that is wonderful. Right down the street, no maintenance fees for checking/savings/CD’s etc. They don’t charge to for ATM use (and even refund the first $25 in fees charged by other bank’s ATM’s). I’ve been banking with them since the 4th grade, and have compared every bank since to them. The only national bank that might hold up would be USAA, that I was eligible for from my dad’s time in the military.

      It was only through a series of accidents and that I ended up with a BoA checking account (they had an ATM next to my student job where I could deposit my paycheck; they also had a service that let me transfer it back to Liberty!).

      What is really disappointing about Well’s Fargo is that by happenstance my family visited the Well’s Fargo museum in Charlotte. I was only dimly aware of its stage coach past, and thought it was really cool that it evolved and survived for 150 years. I was left with a very positive impression of a company I had never given any thought to. Sadly, they seem to have completely betrayed this legacy, and will likely never consider them ever again.

      Fortunately, if I ever need to deliver my gold bullion across the Great Plains, I can still use the Post Office! (http://postalmuseum.si.edu/behindthebadge/protected-shipments.html#Fortknox)

  10. What is sad, is that once you buy a house and you get temporary “financing” through a mortgage broker, your load is sold, usually within the 60 or 90 days until you have to make your first payment. With my last house, my mortgage was sold to Wells Fargo. I had no choice at that point and I also was locked into a great finance rate. Now the sh*t is hitting the fan with WF and it is my opinion, that they should be denied lending privileges and shut them down. I sold my house last year because I wanted to take advantage of the hot housing market here. One of the other things I learned with owning many homes is it is better NOT to include your homeowner’s insurance with your mortgage. Sometimes the loan is sold again without your knowledge and a person will get a notice saying your home is no longer insured!
    People should boycott WF and pull their money out and take their loans elsewhere.

  11. Chase Davidson

    Thank goodness I qualify to bank with Navy Federal. By the way, I ran a quick division in my head, and the fine only boils down to $200 per fake account. Talk about a slap on the wrist, there are bigger traffic tickets.

  12. Isaac

    I had canceled my WF checking account last year to join a nice credit union. However, I left my WF credit card alone, not wanting to close a nice, long-running line of credit.

    Today I received a special email from the Wells Fargo CEO. Here it is:

    ——-To our valued customers,

    You may have seen news recently that some Wells Fargo customers received products and services that they did not want or need.

    Every day we strive to get things right. In this instance we did not – and that is simply not acceptable.

    So we are making it right.

    The first step we’ve taken is to fully reimburse any customers who were affected by these actions.

    We have been making some changes to how we do business over the last several years to ensure we are always aligned with our customers’ interests. To that end, the second change is to ensure Team Members in our Retail Bank are compensated on what matters most: delivering great experiences and ensuring positive outcomes – not on product sales. For more details on this, go to wellsfargo.com/commitment.

    Last week’s news did not reflect Wells Fargo at its best. Your trust and confidence in us is something we hold near and dear. I know I speak for our 268,000 dedicated Team Members when I thank you for giving us the opportunity to continue serving you and supporting your financial future.

    Sincerely,

    John Stumpf——-

    And here is my reply:

    ——–“You may have seen news recently…”

    In fact I did. But not from you. Your company kept the crimes secret for years.

    “You may have seen news recently that some Wells Fargo customers received products and services that they did not want or need.”

    No, you STOLE money from your customers. The fact that you are now framing your company’s misbehavior in such a sleazy, benign-sounding way shows that you aren’t really owning up to it. You are still being dishonest.

    “Received products or services they did not want or need” makes it sound like you accidentally gave away some freebies or did something positive for your customers. Your employees created fake accounts so you could TAKE their money through illicit fees, etc. Tell the truth. “Some Wells Fargo customers were cheated and stolen from” would have been honest. You still aren’t being honest. And the woman responsible for all of this was able to retire on her own, without losing a dime of her millions in bonuses and rewards.

    Since I wasn’t one of the affected customers, I might have stayed with WF if they had addressed this honestly. But since you clearly aren’t interested in transparency even now, I no longer “want or need” my Wells Fargo credit card. I’ll be canceling at my earliest convenience.

    • Isaac

      And their response:

      —–Thank you for contacting Wells Fargo.

      This mailbox is exclusively used to distribute outgoing email. Unfortunately,
      email sent to this mailbox will not be reviewed or responded to. If you are
      attempting to contact Customer Support, please visit our support site located
      at https://www.wellsfargo.com/help.—-

      I’ve tried to use that link once before. There are no words for how worthless it is or for how little anyone cares about anything you tell them there.

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